Jul 142011

17 souls lost? More than 130 injured physically, more psychologically? Was this a déjà vu of 7/11?

Rewind back 5 years and 2 days.

11/7/2006 the date. 11 minutes 7 bombs, the attack. For them it was a number game. But for the 209 killed, it was the day they didn’t meet their family one last time. For the 700 injured, life would never be the same again. The world condemned the attack, as it condemns even today. But that’s what politicians do. Meanwhile, people were too shocked to react. Carrying out routine work had turned out to be dangerous. The fear for life haunted the people, not only in their dreams but for real. Mumbai was paralyzed for few days. It stumbled back to life. The incident was left behind, but not the scars.

Fast forward to 2008. Armed with sophisticated equipment, a group of terrorist entered the city through its least guarded entry point, the sea. The took the city at gunpoint, sparing no class of people, be it rich or poor. 164 were lost to this one side battle, 308 wounded. It took three days to bring the situation under control, with just one of the 10 terrorists arrested alive. He languished in the prison, which has been turned into fortress of a kind, at the expense of the tax payer. Meanwhile, the world condemned the attack, promised all the help, gave none, made a fool of India, its politicians and its people. Mumbai was paralyzed. It took a while to recover. But we were back on our feet.India meanwhile managed to handle this case disastrously, and the people gave up hopes of any justice. Then it became business as usual. The scars of 7/11 had vanished, so had those of 26/11.

Fast forward to present. The attack was as well planned as the previous two, and countless others carried out in past. The desired results were achieved by terrorists. The world condemned the attack. One Mrs. Clinton even said that no matter what these people try, they won’t succeed in their intentions. I failed to understand what other intentions these terror outfits could have other than killing innocent people, which they seem to achieve quite comfortably. Meanwhile, the people in the vicinity took note of the attack. They seemed to be very angry on the television. But they didn’t seemed to have been scarred by this event. They did help in the rescue efforts. But the events didn’t paralyze Mumbai. Trains were on time. No one left office early for the fear of another attack. No one stayed back at the office for the fear of same. In the morning after the attack, all the regulars of the train were present. There were no heated debates about who were responsible, or the chronology of the events, or how our security could be improved and where we went wrong. It was the usual talk about collecting the monthly train group fund money, or arranging a picnic that weekend. The trains were as full as any usual day. They were on time. No one skipped office due to fear of another attack.

Mumbai seemed to not take much notice of this incident. It had found some medicine for its recurring injuries. And the medicine was good. Mumbai had healed fast. It was life as usual.

Dec 022009

This incident occurred few years back. It was some days after the mumbai train serial blasts. I was travelling back home from a particular station on harbour line, and since there was enough time for the train to arrive I decided to sit down on a bench. I saw one man and a big bag next to him and when I approached him with a request to move his bag to make space for me, I was shocked by his response. He said that he didn’t know whose bag it was. This person has been sitting near an unidentified, unclaimed object without any fear for his life, and this just a couple of days after the serial blasts. It was not worth arguing with this person so I approached a constable posted at that platform. The constable came along with me to review the situation. And gave me another shock, second within the span of 2 minutes. Without following any proper precautionary measures, he just opened the bag to check the belongings. I immediately moved at a safe distance, since I was young and wanted to live a longer life.

It turned out to be a bag full of books, belonging to a school boy, who came running from the railway canteen after seeing a policeman fiddling with his his bag. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

But what about the responsibilities of the citizen? Aren’t they supposed to inform about unclaimed suspicious objects? What about the procedures? Wasn’t the policeman not supposed to touch it as he was not equipped to handle the situation?

It seems that we have a habit of getting back to square one. Don’t blame the terrorist for another attack/blast. Its their job, a profession that they have taken up. It for us citizens to be cautious.

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