Are we safe, even a year later?

Posted: November 26, 2009 in Mumbai, NSG

I heard a ‘debate’ on Times Now between a few sanctimonious and at times downright arrogant politicians, and the citizens of Mumbai.
I’ve put debate within single quotes because it was more of a roadside scuffle, with the ‘affable’ Goswami trying really hard to bring some order and having completely failed. I’ve put affable in single quotes because some of my students who have worked with him say he is anything but affable!
There was the Congress spokesperson, who thought he was Bertie Wooster reincarnated, addressing the Drones Club. I thought he would soon break into “My dear fellow, you really must control yourself, you know. Bad for the heart and all that, old chap.”
There was Farooq Abdullah who very sarcastically congratulated some woman called Fazilay, because she told him that she wanted answers form politicians like him because she paid her taxes. I could understand Abdullah’s irritation because he was probably thinking he should invite the lady to Kashmir and let her have some close encounters of the AK-56 kind!
But at the end of it all, what was very obvious to the jittery Indian citizen was that he or she was nowhere close to getting any answers from the contemptuous politicians. The spirited Mumbaikars tried their best but they forgot they were dealing with a specific type of scum which has made stalling into an art form.
As I watched the farce unfolding before me on Times Now, I realised this government and its politicians are no closer to protecting its people then they were exactly a year ago and neither does it care.
How serious they are about it can be seen from the fact that they are busy playing politics over a home for the NSG. I don’t believe that there is NO land in Mumbai or its outskirts (unless the State has started treating Pune as a suburb of Mumbai now) where they can house the commandos.
I keep seeing full page advertisements in the newspaper about fancy El Dorados coming up all around Mumbai. Why doesn’t the State Government strike a deal with some builder for the land? Promise them something else in return if needs be, but take the land and house the NSG. Will they? I mean, do they think twice before bulldozing slums because they want to build expressways or widen highways or set up SEZs? So, why not demand land from a builder for a good cause and one that will surely win them the next election!
Then, so much is written about a single investigation agency, but we now know it’s being run by the same bunch of inept bureaucrats who sat on the Intelligence reports about an impending attack before 26/11. One year later, if a guy with a loaded weapon walks the streets of Mumbai firing indiscriminately, the first people to run for cover would be the cops and politicians who will still have no clue about how it happened.
My friend, Gautam, who is also a senior journalist in Mumbai, said to me once, that after 26/11, whenever he leaves home he doesn’t know whether he will come back alive. And Gautam should know, because he was one of those who experienced first hand Ajmal Kasab’s orgy of violence first at CST, then on the road to Cama and finally at Metro.
He was sitting in a local train waiting to go home when he heard the sound of firecrackers. Thinking it was some people celebrating India’s win against England he looked out of the train to see Kasab firing at people on the platform.
Gautam says he hid under the seat even as he heard people screaming and the continuous chatter of gunfire outside. A little while later he was discovered by a cop who after checking his identification told him to take the back road out of CST.
He did and ran almost into the two terrorists who were heading towards Cama Hospital. Hearing the gunfire behind him he ran into a hut and hid there along with the terrified occupants as the terrorists ran past the hut.
About half an hour later, he crept out and ran towards Metro thinking that CST was hardly the place to be if he wished to protect himself. He reached there and a few minutes later, a police jeep came careening down the road, with one of the occupants firing at the bystanders there.
Gautam says he fell to the ground frightened. It probably saved his life, because two men, one in front and one behind him were hit. How he survived all three places is something even he can’t explain. Maybe, as he says, some superior force wanted him to stay alive.
Maybe, Mumbaikars all need to pray to the Superior Force. It doesn’t look like the politician and the police are going to be of much help, anyway.

  1. Pradeep says:

    Mumbai is a city i love even more than Pune. I was in Mumbai on 26/11 last year, though I was nowhere close to the scene of the attack… Nominally speaking, there is a slight increase in the security for sure… But yes, the fact remains, that my favourite city is no safer today than it was a year back… And yes, the blame does lie with the establishment for failing to put the interests of the country before their own vested political (and at times, monetary) interests… What really bakes my noodle is the fact that all this increased security is actually nothing but a farce… I just hope that, by some miracle, these politicians realize what a soft target Mumbai, and for that matter, the whole of the country is…

  2. kavita mansukhani pandit says:

    last year while the seige was on, apparently the paki handlers were instructing their boys on what next to do and what next to expect, based on what tv was beaming to the world and its aunty about nsg arriving, then marcos joining in etc etc… was as if we were helping them to continue their attack….yesterday when times now had this major debate on what all has been said and not done in the last one year to make us feel safer, it seems not much has been done…if we are going to continue to expose our unpreparedness for the world and pakistan to see, how the hell are we going to be safe ever….sure we are angry with politicians and the powers that be who have not done their job, but musn't we keep quiet about it instead of letting the enemy know that we are as unprepared as we were 385 days ago……….

  3. Weirdo guy says:

    Amen to the last line.

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