November 27, 2015
Subject: Remembering 26/11/Mumbai. Unfaithful Govt. And Unmindful Indians.
We are with you in remembrance of all who died in Mumbai on 26/11 in 2008 and also for those who died in trying to save them. TRUE OR FALSE? We shall attempt the answer later.
First, let us read once the scintillating write-up in “The Hindustan Times” of November 26, 2015, that many of you would have already read. Yet, we felt we could once look at it through our own lens with a different objective. The writer is no other than the well-known security analyst Dr. Ajai Sahani, Dr. Sahani has a penchant for highlighting facts. His piece, “Today India is as vulnerable as Mumbai was on 26/11, 2008”, is a scathing and yet factual revelation of the state of affairs in security field at the ground level.
We reproduce some of Dr. Sahni’s
· Clearly, the incidence of Islamist terrorism has declined dramatically for a variety of reasons that have little to do with state policy in India. This, however, has no bearing on our vulnerabilities. A single index is sufficient to understand the magnitude of the latter. In 2008, the average expenditure per capita population by the states on policing amounted to Rs 235.63 per annum, or less than 65 paisa per capita per diem; by 2014, this amount had risen to Rs 374.45, or just under Rs 1.03 per capita per diem – a difference that would likely be more than wiped out by the rate of inflation. For all the rhetoric about our determination to fight terrorism, this is the reality of the most critical element of internal security – the first responders – in India today.
· It is useful, here, to understand that security is indivisible: you cannot have a cutting edge counter-terrorism response in a degraded system of law and order management; if women are not safe in the streets, then terrorists will also have a free run; if containers full of smuggled goods are sold openly in markets across the country, there is no way to prevent the movement of a few kilograms of explosives or some weapons and ammunition; if various identity documents can be purchased for a few hundred or thousand rupees, terrorists can easily hide themselves out in the open and transact their murderous business under multiple identities.
· Crucially, no political party and no government, at the Centre or in the states, has shown the slightest enthusiasm for comprehensive reform and improvements in the police. This is unsurprising in a country where 182 members of Parliament and nearly 35% of legislators in state assemblies have criminal charges pending against them.
· As for the many proposals announced in the wake of the 26/11 attacks, none but a few ineffectual showcase projects, which have little bearing on our preparedness, has been fully implemented.
· The promised expansion of the intelligence apparatus has not materialised; the Crime and Criminal Network and Systems and associated National Database is nowhere to be seen, and has received not a rupee in central funding in the last two budgets; a host of other projects – NATGRID, Coastal Policing and Security, as well as major systemic improvements announced – have been partially implemented, with endemic lack of coordination, and with no more than marginal improvements in capabilities of prevention and response. We are, seven years later, as vulnerable to terrorist attack as Mumbai was on 26/11.
(Ajai Sahni is executive director, Institute for Conflict Management)
Friends, Ajai has spurred us to indulge in some kind of self-introspection and raise some questions. This is notwithstanding that the governments over the years must have taken some steps to plug the loopholes then found. (Nothing material, as put across by Ajai).
· Do we believe that the security men, also including that bravest of all, the Manager of the hotel, who all had laid down their lives to save as many of countrymen as possible, are deserving of being remembered? Then, what do we do about them or about that catastrophe?
· Why 26/11is not or has not been observed in a befitting manner?
· Why cannot we lit lamps in memory of those who had tried their best to save the Mumbaikars?
· Can we not have a suitable memorial for this purpose?
· Has it become “A Ritual Mourning”, as the lead editorial in today (November 27, 2015)’s “The Indian Express” has stated?
· That is why, possibly, the editorial ends up, “This November, it is perhaps time to stop grieving over those we have lost, and instead demand that the government act to ensure the highest possible standards of safety for those who live”.
· What has been preventing the government from undertaking adequate precautionary or counter measures to forestall such possible terrorist attacks, as pointed out by Dr. Sahni, and which have now become more possible because of ISIS presence on Indian soil?
Well, Friends, it is because of all these that we had asked to ourselves the question whether it was TRUE OR FALSE that we remember those whom we had lost 8 years back.
The judgement is yours!
(Former Spl. Director, IB)
(President, Patriots’ Forum)
Source: Patriot Forum
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