Some Thing That Hurts

I caught the glimpses of the Oscar winning movie ‘The Hurt Locker‘ some time back. Though I haven’t seen the complete movie, the glimpses were enough to unsettle my thoughts. The movie is about the plight of a bomb diffusion squad stationed in Iraq, deployed to help the American forces to combat the possible time bombs and suicide or human bombers. The movie is not only about how they diffuse they diffuse the bombs, but also about the plight of the team who is required to fight in challenging conditions for reasons not known to many.

It also made me remember an interview of a soldier Indian Express had published long time ago. He was deployed with the Border Security forces and was required to fight the Bodo ultras. I guess the character of Tarun Chauhan in the movie Tango Charlie was based on him. Today the news papers are full of stories on the Maoist insurgence and how they ran their armed business under our very own nose and without much ado. They have recently slain 73 policemen in one of the deadliest attacks on armed forces by the Maoists in India. A curious journalist interviewed Mr. Vishwa Ranjan, DIG of Chhattisgarh and asked him if we could use air strikes to negate them. To which he said, ‘Air strikes? we are fighting our own men who seem distracted.’ You know how it feels? Continue reading

A trip to CST

cst_mumbaiI went to the ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus’ for my personal work this Monday. Being as curious as a cat, I couldn’t stop myself from observing the station from a terrorism angle. I’m not criticising any one. Neither am I pointing fingers the way media men did during the whole Taj-Oberoi-CST attacks. I’m just penning my plain observation (and my comments/concerns in the brackets).

So to start with, the CST had bunkers installed on the sides from where the two terrorists had walked in. (As far as I know, there area at least dozen entrances and exits to the station. I wonder what makes them think the next attack will happen in similar manner.)

There were lot of taxis, public and private vehicles coming in and going out in the same area without much surveillance. (Except for the blasts in local trains, in all other blasts a public carrier was used. May it be a bus, a taxi or any other vehicle. So what if an RDX laden taxi barges in and blows away the are. There is no way a police can stop it.)

Finally there were some uniformed policemen laced with stenguns posted inside the station. Various posts are now in place and we see men (and women) occupying them. Metal detectors are installed as well. However they keep making noise and there is hardly any one listening. I saw 4 policemen sitting besides the post with metal detectors. Two were reading news paper, one was sipping tea and the forth one was dozing off. (Frankly, I cant blame them. There might be 50 policemen at CST. But there were also more than 2000 commuters. Too much for the liking of already over worked security personnel.)

I was carrying a back pack similar to what the terrorist were carrying when they attacked CST. But I was never stoped and questioned. (May be I look too innocent). I had my prying eyes circling the entire station with suspicion. I also tried to take pictures (even of policemen) pretending I was reading an sms. I got away too easily. (Either the police is very smart to know who’s a culprit or they are too dumb to notice it.)

Overall, I think we have not learnt from our mistakes. I dont know how much more lives will it take for us to realise that we are indeed under constant threat of global terrorism.

What leads to terrorist attacks?

Look at the two contrasting pictures below.

untitled11untitled80Now help me answer a simple question. “Is violence an answer to more violence?” The terrorists, bandits or jehadis… whatever you may wish to call them, are taking vows to avenge the Gujarat riots. On the contrary, it all started in 1992-93 when the babri masjid was destroyed. Major riots broke out in Mumbai following the distruction leading to killings of hundreds of hindu-muslim households alike. Tiger Memon took an opportunity along with Dawood to blow up Mumbai in the serial blasts in 1993. It helped the Muslims in no way, but promoted even more haterd between the communities. The ‘Ayodhya’ movement gathered steam. Some anti social elements objected and set a train on fire in Godhra. The riots in Gujarat were nothing but an outburst of the killings of ‘innocent’ kar sevaks in Godhra. In response to Godhra, the jehadis blew up trains in Mumbai 2 years back. Surprisingly they are still avenging the ‘defeat’ and so called shody treatment to the Muslims. However this is not about the religion as they say it. ‘Islam’, from whatever I know is actually a very peaceful religion. The Quran doesn’t preach innocent killings. In fact it doesn’t preach the violence at all. Why on earth, then we have so many fidayeens willing to lay their lives on being brain washed by a bunch of selfish culprits? I’m sure many Indian and Pakistani politicians are involved in this dirty race for power.

There is probably no answer to this. All we need to do is use our brains and use them well. These young guys who pleadge their lives are not dying for a noble cause. Sad thing is, they don’t understand this. All they believe is what they see. Their failure to think means we have continued terrorism not only in India but around the world.

So coming back to the question. “Is violence the answer to violence?” Tell me about it!

Fellow Blogger Ramana Rajagopaul as written an excellent article on terrorism in India. Here it is, worth a read: Terrorism in India

Yet another terror attack… who cares?

terror-attack-on-taj-hotelMore than 40 hours ago, Mumbai was attacked by a handful of terrorists believed to have traveled from Karachi in Pakistan. They came through the sea route, dodged every possible security measure and entered the city laced with AK 47 machine guns, hand grenades and large qualtities of RDX. They ran ruckus at the CST, the busiest railway station in Mumbai, firing at will, throwing grenades and killing innocent passengers. Some of them turned their gaze to ‘The Taj Heritage’ and ‘Oberoi Trident’, one of the finest hotels in Mumbai. Some of them even posted themselves at the Nariman House, The Kama hospital and ran a fire cracker show at the Metro Cinema. Oh did I say it was one of the biggest terrorist attacks on the city of Mumbai?

Both the hotels were engulfed in flames even as the fire personnel were desperately trying to avert further damage. The NSG commandos and army has been summoned to prevent further attacks and gun down the terrorists. The last news came that some people are still trapped inside both the hotels, being held hostages. 7 of the terrorists have been killed and 1 was arrested. All this melodrama staged by the stooges from across the border has already claimed about 150 lives and injured more than 300, including some foreigners. A local newspaper in Mumbai also bore stories of brave policemen, notably Hemant Karkare (ATS chief), Vijay Salaskar (ACP) and Ashok Kamte (ACP) and how they laid their lives fighting for us.

Brave my foot! Are we making a mockery of ourselves? I would have loved to read stories involving these officers on how their premptive actions averted a possible terror attack on the city. Today they lay there slain by some mediocre brain washed bull heads. There are guys killing innocent people at will. There is vengeance in their eyes, for reasons known best to their preachers. What was the NSG doing when these guys vehemently sailed under our nose and inside the city? So long we have been hearing stories of Indian Navy and their heroics against the pirates. But when we ask them how could these guys slip inside our waters without being noticed, they couldn’t answer. An explanation wont do any good here. The brevity of their responses and the melancholy in the national security camp bears the testimony of how incompetant we are in protecting the lives of our own people. A bunch of guys are still out there… making a mockery of our system. And we just cant do anything… we just cant!

The entire episode has left me with a bitter feeling. A feeling of angst against the growing power of the minority terrorist outfits and a feeling of guilt for not being able to help it myself. I no longer have faith on my country’s security system. I have stayed in Mumbai long enough to witness all the major attacks in recent times. Frankly speaking the people of Mumbai are now habituated to such odd things happening every now and then. It was a day of horrors yesterday. But it is business as usual since today morning. Mumbai is back on its feet. People know that nothing is going to happen. There would be inquiries, police raids, some arrests, some trials that will last for 15 years and then there would be some convictions. But things would go on the way they have been going. There is no dampening of the spirit of Mumbai. The terrorism is here to stay and the ‘Mumbaikar’ knows it. Today we are lucky to be alive. Tomorrow we might be one of those deceased… who knows? There is nobody who’s going to protect us.

PS: If there are policemen reading this, dont feel bad. We dont want you guys dead. We want you to be alive and protecting us.