Getting frisked…what’s wrong?

Posted: December 10, 2010 in Terrorism
Tags: , , , , ,

So another important Indian official got frisked at some US airport. The Yanks probably thought she had an AK-56 hidden in the folds of her sari! But jokes aside, at least she got frisked. In India try frisking your own MPs and bureaucrats and the next thing you know the Airport Manager will be transferred to Tinsukhia.

I remember the outcry by MPs and bureaucrats when it was suggested that they all be frisked at airports. What’s the harm? If they are carrying firearms they can declare it. And like the rule states, it will be handed back to them once the aircraft reaches the destination. But it does make one wonder why they refuse to be frisked –especially when they and returning with their spouse from sojourns abroad.

I’ll agree that the US airports do stretch things a bit at times – like when they made Defence Minister George Fernandes undergo a strip search and patted down former president APJ Abdul Kalam. But sometimes an advanced state of paranoia is a good thing. The US has, by and large, managed to avoid any major terrorist attack after 26/11, unlike here where we wait for an incident to happen and then make a lot of noise, point fingers at the whole world and generally flounder around. At most places there isn’t security worth its name.

Every time I read about a bomb blast somewhere in the country I realise how helpless we are when it comes to protecting ourselves. While politicians get z+ security the common people are left to fend for themselves. Look at what happened in Varanasi. A bomb went off and, somebody died because the police were goofing off on the job – which is nothing new when it comes to the UP Police. But instead of doing something, Mayawatiji says the Centre should give her the kind of security that Mumbai got after 26/11! Then the Centre blames UP, and the chief minister throws it right back. In all the buck-passing the people who suffer are mere statistics.

Take even Pune, German Bakery was reduced to rubble two years ago, but it hasn’t really changed anything here, has it? At one of the biggest malls in Pune the security apparatus is a joke. At this place two people – one who slides a mirror under the car and the other who opens your boot and gives it a cursory look- are what we have in terms of security. Where is the thorough check that is required?

Hundreds of people flock to the mall every day and the damage in terms of lives and property can well be imagined if some nut-case decides to do something. Yet is the Pune Police or even the authorities at the mall bothered? The cops will shrug it off with the words that security inside the mall is not their concern, and the Mall owners will say they are doing all they can. But is that enough? So often, we’ve parked our car in the parking lot at the mall and stepped across the road to do some shopping.

A colleague told me this rather interesting story and I think it fits perfectly into the bureaucratic bungling which we see when a terrorist attack takes place. She was in Delhi in 2001 with students on a study tour when terrorists struck Parliament House. The Capital was suddenly under siege so the lady decided to visit George Fernandes, who was a friend of her father’s and also the defence minister.

When she reached his house she informed the security personnel who informed Fernandes. The minister called her and the kids in, but, surprisingly, his security refused to allow them in! Since this was the day after the Parliament attack they were adamant that no one would be allowed in even without the required approval, even though the minister had no objection, since guarding him inside his house was their responsibility.

The security personnel then told the lady that she could meet Fernandes when he drove out of his bungalow. Once the minister left the bungalow, he would step out of the car and meet them. The lady then posed the classic question: What if, when Fernandes steps out of the car, someone waiting across the road shot at him?

The security officer’s answer left her speechless. “That’s not our problem. Our jurisdiction ends the minute he steps out of the gate. If something happens after he leaves his residence, that’s the responsibility of the commandos protecting him.”

  1. Sunayan Bhattacharjee says:

    Hello Sir

    I completely agree with you but the spelling of the place is ‘Tinsukia’ and not ‘Tinsukhia’. Coincidentally, the place is in Assam and I really din’t know that the place is that bad. Been to that place quite a number of times. And for the most important part of it, the place does not have an airport. The nearest airport is at Mohanbari near Dibrugarh.


  2. Mohan says:

    I never meant it in a derogatory sense, but simply to make a relation with distance!

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