Monthly Archives: November 2008

Enough is enough, right?

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People who say the same thing:

Vir Sangvi

The city

Shobaa De

Moshe

If you have any questions…

Some letters in the TOI today:

‘AK-47 vs lathi: Is this what we call security?’
Citizens Slam Authorities, Call For Stringent Action
Do you think our central and state govts were prepared to tackle the latest terror attacks?
PM, CM should go
Both the central and the state governments come across as pathetically weak. There seems to be no resilience, preparedness, planning or infrastructure to support our poor but brave policemen and army commandos. On top of that, Manmohan Singh and Vilasrao Deshmukh come across as totally spineless and weak; and they should go. India needs strong, charismatic and inspirational leaders who can unite India and show foresight and resolve instead of making rhetorical statements during such a crisis.
SHIKHA SHARMA
Getting to the roots
It’s high time we examine the roots of terrorism. Any disgruntled populace can succumb to religious, political or social ideological propaganda. What is needed is adequate vent for such a group within the existing governmental framework. Unfortunately, corruption, nepotism and criminalization of government and bureaucrats have closed this option. Let us empower NGOs to check the government’s performance. I understand that NGOs, too, can go the same way, but it will take them at least 60 years to reach the levels governments have stooped to since Independence.
SHLOK VAIDYA
A battle of unequals
People were blindly shot by terrorists at CST on Wednesday night. Where was the security? I see people in khaki uniform at every station. But all they have in their hands are lathis, 30 cm in length and 2-3 cm in diameter. How can they protect the public with these? An AK-47 versus a lathi—is that what we call security here? The railway police were in no sense prepared for the attack. We have wrongly underestimated the terrorists and the terrorists have rightly underestimated us.
AKSHAY PUJARI
Where are the politicians?
Z-category security is only for those who go into hiding when there is a fire, literally in this case. At this point, Mumbai is not hurt or damaged. That happens when people are laid off. That happens when would-be political leaders shoot their mouths off as they don’t have the ability to shoot anything else. What happened to the party/parties that swear to love Mumbai and not India? Why aren’t they coming to the aid of terrified fellow citizens? Why don’t they offer food and tea to their protectors—fire brigade, NSG, army, navy, air force, police and so on?
M KOTVAL
Jolted into action
It’s easy for us to form opinions about governments—for and against them. The sort of pressure they have cannot be understood without experiencing it. But it’s clear from all this is that our security operations do
not gather pace till something happens and some shocking news comes through. If the lives of ace police officers have to be sacrificed to awaken governments, then take all of us down. Kill everyone. Money and power are not everything.
SIDDHARTH MAHADIK
Govts wait and watch
The central and state governments are never prepared for any sort of terror attack. Even if they have prior information, they prefer to sit back and watch the entire episode unfold. They act only when the situation worsens. Nobody will come to our rescue if we are not ready to help ourselves.
SMITA RAJAN
J&K polls irked Pak
The polls in J&K were bound to irk the Pakistan government, forcing the ISI to resort to such acts. But this could have been anticipated and counter-measures put in place to neutralize such acts of terror. Instead, the authorities were caught napping as usual.
SANJAY
Follow US example
The only way to tackle such terrorism is to act like the US after the 9/11 attack—invade and destroy all terrorist camps there. We have to get to the root of the birth of these terrorists and eliminate it. Otherwise, no matter how much we boost our security, the purpose will not be served.
NIKHIL GUPTA
Inadequate training
Some of the officers responsible for anti-terrorism duties hardly get time from sycophancy. They are not even trained to deal with such eventualities. All they are interested in are a good posting, good club life, good education for their children, maximum perks and amassing money. Otherwise, we won’t have terror attacks with such frequency.
GARGA
BHARGAV
Ill-equipped authorities
No, the manner in which our police force and authorities were taken aback by the terrorists bears testimony to the fact that they were ill-equipped to quell the attack. It’s unfortunate that many of our able police officers succumbed to the terror attack due to lack of proper weapons and loopholes in the functioning of our intelligence agency. The police force needs to be overhauled and given the latest weapons to deal with such terror strikes.
PRASHANT KALBENDE
Politicians are answerable
It has pained me, but more than that, it has made me very angry. I don’t think our governments were prepared to deal with such an attack. And they will not be able to do so if we citizens allow them to continue with the business of governance. For them, it has never been a critical issue. These selfish politicians, who have taken the city for a ride, should be made answerable for the lives lost.
SHEELA KOTHAVLE
Give them guns, not sticks
How can stick-wielding policemen face terrorists with automatic weapons? Governments should abolish the obsolete laws. The police and security personnel guarding all important buildings/premises must be given automatic weapons and proper training to handle such situations.
PARSRAM BACHWANI
Enact stricter laws
It appears that both the governments are clueless about terror outfits and their mode of operation. It’s time stringent laws were enacted.
GREGORY FERNANDES
We have been let down
The politicians have let us down. They are to be held responsible for loss of lives.
VIA SMS
Wake up or resign
We are proud of the army, NSG and the police. Politicians should wake up or resign as we have suffered enough.
VIA SMS
Are you ready to put up with intrusive security measures to avert such crises?
Sacrifices have to be made
When it’s a question of security, other factors should not come in the way. Some sacrifices have to be made to achieve peace. Inconvenience in such matters can be tolerated.
SUBASH C VAID
Right people should do it
Only if we have 1,000% assurance that we can trust the people handling such information and are in charge of such operations, no leakages, no misuse for personal or other gains.
MRIDULA
Remove netas’ security
Yes, I will certainly put up with intrusive safety measures provided all the politicians are stripped of their Z-Category security, commando cover and escort vehicles. The resources thus saved should be diverted to provide security to the common man from terrorists.
V V S MANI
Lose some, win some
Yes, I am ready. I have often heard the phrase, “you got to lose something to get something”. I feel this is true in our case. If a few more frisking measures and enhanced security at public buildings and crowded places can help save hundreds of lives, then I am all for it.
AKSHAY AGARWAL
We will take strong steps
No, we have been left shaken by this attack and are feeling helpless. But as time passes, we will take strong security measures, to avoid such crises.
BHAGWAN THADANI
Need for reforms
The government must have the capacity to educate and reform citizens, or citizens must have the capacity to educate the government. These are the only ways to deal with the situation as nothing else will work.
VIA SMS
It’s not intrusion
No amount of security in populated and public places can be called intrusive.
VIA SMS
Ready for anything
Yes, I am ready to put up with anything to ensure proper security for the citizens.
VIA SMS
How can Mumbai shore up its defences? Spend more on cops
First, officers of the Mumbai police need proper equipment. We need to spend public money to protect them so that they can protect us—with bulletproof vests, helmets and proper ammunition. Second, we need to stop wasting our limited resources on security for politicians. They are diverting our resources away from the important task of protecting Mumbai. Third, we need politicians like Raj Thackeray to stop dividing us. It’s his duty to protect us.
HEENA
City needs stalwarts
By putting in charge stalwarts such as Kiran Bedi, Gill, Jagmohan and Modi at the helm.
VIKAS SETH
Make Raj’s sena work
By ignoring people like Raj Thackeray and making his sena guard the coast and other installations. Let’s see how much guts they’ve got. Bullying poor labourers is easy.
MRIDULA
Invest in public services
Mumbai and all major Indian cities need investment in the public sector—police, intelligence, medical, fire brigade etc. India has taken great pride in “shining” through its private sector, but it will not last if the public services remain lacklustre. Strong infrastructure will ensure the safety and security of our citizens as well as build the confidence of foreign investors. If this is one lesson that’s not glaringly obvious by now, then we are as blind as our politicians.
SHIKHA SHARMA
Get NSG, commandos Mumbai must have its own NSG and commandos on a priority basis.
VIA SMS
Inspiration is the key
Living in Mumbai is slowly turning into a constant nightmare. An ordinary person leaving his home can no longer be certain that he will return safely. Bomb blasts, political parties like the MNS terrorizing people and a weak chief minister—Mumbai deserves to be led by a truly inspired Mumbaikar who works like a CEO and has no political affiliations. It’s the financial capital of India and needs a safe and free environment to prosper. Mumbaikars, it’s an appeal from me—let’s start a petition to free Mumbai from the clutches of politicians and hand it over to a leader elected by us to make it a truly great city.
SHOBHA RAO

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Pray for peace and the spine to get justice

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Over 14 hours later, the crisis still looms large. Hope every innocent person comes out safe and unharmed. Human rights activists move aside, because the terrorists should get absolutely no mercy!

For updates

An interesting POV

Edited at 11:50, November 28th: Nearly 36 hours later, nothing is still close to ending. Many dead. Even more injured and now the blame game is going global.

A lot of us felt this way.. Before retiring for the night, I pulled out my licensed .32 revolver, loaded it and put it under my pillow. For a very disturbed sleep.

Edited at 11.15 pm (now 50 hours and counting): Two of the three encounters ended as criticism comes in along with sympathy from all over the world.

On a more personal note, I want her to win.

An exercise

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Trawling through the net, I came across an interesting exercise. Writing five adjectives that you think describe you. Try it. And if you feel like it, leave it as a comment. It’s fun and makes you think.

Complicated
Fat
Secretely optimistic
Intelligent
Moody

That’s me.

Sometimes, I wish I were deaf

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My office pantry: me sitting with a cup of bad coffee, pretending to read the Bombay Times and struggling not to hear this Hindu-para-military-kinda guy who looked deceptively harmless.

First he laughs out loud reading the paper. Of course that is usual. We all find something to laugh about in the paper, every single day. While some others sitting give him a strange look, he continues guffawing, and then turns to the table next to him and starts ranting.

“Have you noticed how the media is only talking about Hindu terrorists? How they silenced Asaram bapu and now are going after this..this sadhvi?”  Where are the Muslim terrorists? Don’t they see that Hindu terrorists are only born because of them, those Muslims? These guys will slowly kill all Hindus and make them disappear from this Hindu country and call it secular?”

At this point, I look up and gave him an irritated look. This was an office space and he had no business bringing in religion or politics into the office. I had half a dozen venomous responses ready to spew at him but when I looked at him, I realized all he wanted was a reaction. The two men at his table were wondering where was all this wrath coming from. So I went back to reading my paper.

He took off again, generally repeating the same shit. “Muslims bad, hindus good and disappearing. Wrongly being called terrorists. Where is Zaheera now? Why did they put her accused in jail? (I have no clue what he was reading and whether there is now a connection is Zaheera of Godhra infamy and this whole Malegaon mess) And his punch line: “Lagta hai kuch karna pagega in Muslims ka..” and he stalked out.

The two guys he was supposedly ranting to picked up the paper and tried to figure out what set him off and I was taking deep breaths to just calm down — calm down from the impulse wanting to open the pantry windows and push this guy straight out.

Who are these people? Such venom for a faith? What has being Muslim (or being Hindu) got to do with blowing up innocent people?

Other instances of overhearing: 1, 2