Callousness in Mumbai

There is no category of criminals as brutish and barbaric as terrorists. The depravity of their intention is matched only by the perversity of their actions. Their target is the innocent citizen, the non-partisan, the individual, the nameless child who might have been drawn to death by the accident of circumstance, or the misfortune of destiny.The terrorists who attacked Mumbai on July 13 were cowards, hiding maliciously behind anonymity. Since we live in an age increasingly stripped of values, whether in war, peace or the indeterminate grey in between, a brave city like Mumbai has adjusted to the fact that terrorism is part of the price of urban density. But Mumbai will not reconcile itself to either the inefficiency or the alibi that politicians trot out to protect themselves from the whiplash of accountability.The Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan can think of nothing more original than passing the buck. It was his Home Minister R R Patil’s fault, he said, before he did the next thing that politicians are brilliant at: the somersault. Acrobatics cannot explain why the entire police wireless network that evening was jammed, among other things. There is, in fact, nothing more to be said on Mumbai’s security after the Times of India’s brilliant page one photograph on Saturday morning. It showed a beached high-speed boat, one of the seven with bulletproof cabins and deepsea radio reception that had been purchased after the attack by Pak-trained terrorists on November 26, 2008, to protect Mumbai’s coastline.

The dead boat was lying face down on Versova beach; the other six were anchored, and idle, behind it because of a lack of trained policemen. More astonishingly, the government did not provide enough fuel. Each boat got just enough petrol to function for an hour a week. Who is responsible for this colossal inefficiency? The Maharashtra government? Delhi’s Home Ministry, which is astute at seizing credit if any is due, and transferring blame when anything goes wrong?Will any minister be held answerable within the Congress-NCP governments in Mumbai and Delhi? No. You can be sure of that.

Politicians often run out of excuses. That constitutes a mere problem. When they run out of words you know that they are entangled in a full-blown crisis. The man designated to keep Indians safe from terrorists, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who is usually good with words, lost track and traction when he asserted after the Mumbai blasts that as far as suspects go, he was ruling no one out, and ruling no one in either. That probably explains why the Maharashtra police immediately picked up two members of the Indian Mujahideen and seven Naxalites from Mumbai, and 10 Maoists from Pune. They have clearly expanded their circle of the usual suspects.

The Mumbai citizen has a simple query: is Mumbai protected as securely as Rahul Gandhi, or any other political VIP? If not, why not?In fact, if the Mumbai police looked after the citizen even with as much concern as they bestow on the welfare of the brother of Dawood Ibrahim, our most wanted accused on the terror list, Mumbai would be grateful. Ibrahim the Younger continues to thrive in Mumbai. Mumbai police do not play favourites. They are also very kind to his underworld rival Chhota Rajan, without any noticeable harm coming to either don. Rajan is so comfortable that he happily gives interviews to newspapers from his lair; his hideout is not very hidden.There is a rational collective consciousness which understands that you cannot eliminate terrorism in these troubled times, but if government cannot eliminate a callous response, then it will be eliminated in the next election. – Khaleejnews