Sunday, January 4, 2009

Terrorism & us

The recent spate of terror attacks in Mumbai has not just reminded us of the gruesome consequences of terrorism, but it has also brought into light the vulnerability of the common man in the streets. The aftermath of the attacks this time was not just limited to death and injuries, but this time it had widespread consequences. It has exposed the callous attitude of the government in dealing with terrorism, which after all has become a reality today.

Fortunately and quite suprisingly, I have to admit, the government was wise enough to feel the pulse of the common man and made striking changes in the well known "system".The NSA, National Security Agency was formed after a long and tedious wait, something which should've been done much earlier. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra was sacked, so to speak and the promise of a more efficient NSG commando squad was made. Also the issue of Police reforms came to the forefront. After a long time, it seemed as if the goverment machinery had shrugged off its red tapism shackles and was at last thinking about the all important but oh so neglected Common Man. Or was it?

Yes, the NSG has now been deployed in 4 other cities other than the capital. And the security guards have been stripped down for VIPs not facing life threatening danger. But is that sufficient? Or, is it really the change that we as citizens want? I'm not quite sure of that yet.
For one, there are just about 7500 NSG commandos in the Indian Army, so what's the big deal about dividing up the commandos into groups so small that virtually it would be impossible for commandos to perform in case of dire emergencies. Moreover, the recent trimming of security guards for the who's who of politics turned out to be nothing more than an eye wash. In Delhi only a hundred personnel were reduced. Internet security is something which the government isn't even aware of, so it seems. Why then has it become so difficult to track down terror related cyber crime? Now most expected the citizens to absorb the shocks as they have been doing since time immemorial.

However, this time, the citizens weren't willing to take this insult to their trust, lying down. And so under immense pressure, the Chief Minister Mr. Vilasrao Desmukh had to vacate his post, and make way for someone who is apparently more equipped to handle the situation. Now that's something which hasn't happened often in India. Also, various news channels crept in and launched innumerable campaigns regarding increasing the consciousness of the man on the street.

It almost seems like a dream come true for every Indian citizen to see the government waking up to its promise of good governance and providing the minimum safety and security to every individual, although this dream came true at a heavy price. It almost seems as if the common man is no longer common, he has become important not just for the government but for the country as a whole. Let us all hope that the sincerity and the vigilance the government has shown is more than an eye wash.

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