Sunday, November 30, 2008

Time For Some Serious Changes....!!

The Mumbai ordeal is over for now. And peace has returned, momentarily of course. Its a rude shock to all of us, and the pain is being felt even more, because the rich and the powerful of India have been hit, unlike the common man who was hit in such past incidents. This was a whole different group of people who had to bear the brunt of terrorism in its worst form. A elite group, that can afford to eat at Five Star luxury, dont use local trains and send only their servants to buy vegetables at the market. And when this segment of elite Indians are angry, a lot of change and reforms can be expected in the system.
Well, not that my opinion will have much of a bearing on the wise policy makers of the country, i would like to request them to pull up their socks and start working seriously. Here are a few of my recommendations from a common man's perspective.

  • DON'T POLITICIZE terrorist activities : When so many people die helplessly, seeing politicians argue about who is responsible, is very hurtful and childish. Either one is in power, the same would have happened. Instead, they should sit together and analyze what went wrong and take corrective measures  as soon as possible.

  • Redefine the term terrorism : When a mob beats up poor taxi drivers and daily wage laborers, or when places of worship are destroyed and nuns beaten up, that is terrorism too. When things begin to happen according to the whims and fancies of one person, that is terrorism too. When one man or organization emerges above the law, then that is defintely terrorism. So when people express shock that how can 10-12 people siege a big city like Mumbai, then they need to do a reality check and see that it has happened very recently too. So terrorism has to be redefined as : "Any act, that causes fear of bodily harm, in the minds of the common man."

  • Make STRICT laws and even STRICTER implementation :  Stricter laws are necessary to curb terrorism, but what is even more important is how they are implemented. If the laws are not implemented to its full potential, then they might as well have not been created at all. This could work through the other extreme too. Measures have to be taken to monitor that the the laws are not used to oppress any innocents ( for political, ideological or personal matters ). This monitoring could be done through an unbiased human rights body, working in tandem with the investigation.

  • Politicians must steer clear of all investigations: This is even more important. Unless the security agencies work with full freedom, they wont produce any results. In fact, a politicians often influence investigations for "certain reasons". Maybe the accused is of a particular community or background, or a religious leader or any such frivolous reason, don't try to protect them or amass public support for them, till the law pronounces its verdict. Lets focus on the enormity of the crime committed, and not on the social status of the criminals. Not just in terrorism related cases, but in all other cases as well.

  • Create well equipped state agencies and police: In the Mumbai incident, it was the NSG that spear headed the entire operations. Before they arrived, the state police was clueless about what they were dealing with. So hence, even our state police must be trained to the level of our best commandos, so that they can answer to such calls ASAP. And have the NSG available quickly, for such national problems, rather than thrusting them more just for VIP protection. Also better disaster management teams and emergency services must always be on the ready. All should be capable enough to coordinate amongst themselves, without requiring any "higher level" of clearance.

  • Provide high tech equipments: No expenses must be spared to equip our soldiers and police with the latest in weapons, armor and surveillance. I think we have seen enough of those pre-independence rifles left by the British, which are mere toys compared to what terrorists hold. These outdated weapons must be quickly replaced by something which is a lot more reasonable. Also better equipments must be used at public places to monitor the crowds, through bomb detectors, CCTV and any other relevant accessories. Also the checks must be carried out always, and not just for a few days after any incident. People would rather spend a few extra minutes for security, rather than having to spend time in the grip of terror. Yes, its difficult to monitor such a large population, but there is not other option.

  • Take good care of army, police and intelligence personnel: They risk their lives in the line of duty. So its the duty of the government to ensure that they are paid well and live a good quality life.

  • Initiate better intelligence gathering mechanisms:  Intelligence is important for security. Apart from gathering intelligence, its vital that that its acted upon swiftly. Like if there is a likelihood of an attack through the sea, then there must be action taken to patrol them. No use crying about it when something bad happens, in spite of an intelligence warning. Such a thing is extremely irresponsible...! So never ignore a warning or an alert, no matter how vague or indefinite it might look. It never hurts to be a bit extra cautious.

  • Unite the people in the war against terror: Ultimately its all about the people. Big terror attacks seldom happen without any local help. Whatever the reason for the internal aid may be, must be identified and stopped. Homegrown terrorists is something which will be most difficult to handle. Most of the time its social conditions, monetary benefits or misleading propaganda that drive them to do this. That is, they dont think of themselves to fit into Indian society,or are not comfortable with their Indian identity. So first of all, disparities and discrimination's must be eliminated, and steps should be taken towards a division less India. Leaders will have to look beyond caste, religion and language politics, to spread this spirit of being ONE. The people of India must share a feeling of being Indian, over any other discrimination. Encouraging a nationalist spirit in each one of us, will ensure that we work towards upliftment and glory of the motherland. As citizens lets pledge to spread love and not hate. Let us find more reasons to love each other, rather than to kill each other.

Well, these are just some of my views, and nothing seems to be unrealistic or impossible to implement. All this is feasible, if only the right efforts are put into it, as soon as possible. Or else such incidents will keep jolting us rudely. Getting angry and spirited for a day or two wont help. We need long term solutions. The feeling of "Thank God it wasn't me" has to be changed, and any such incident has to be thought of an attack on each and every one of us. Lets not allow the deaths of so many innocent people to go in vain. Lets change the way things are around here...

Jai Hind