We take pride in being unique, be it our culture, our etiquette, even our methods of combating terror and crime. The latest outrage in Pune saw once again the effortless manner in which we are able to deal with such catastrophic events. The CCTV cameras which were meant to be up and running in the city — which had earlier been witness to bomb blasts — were installed but never switched on in two establishments near the site of the recent blasts. The Pune Municipal Corporation which installed the cameras thought the police would monitor them and vice versa. The net result — no images of the culprits.
Now no one can accuse us of not being consistent. After the horrific Mumbai terror attacks, we were supposed to beef up surveillance on our coast line, but a visit there will reveal that you could paint yourself blue, swim all the way to Karachi and back and no one would be the wiser. Likewise our interesting methods of dealing with the aftermath of attacks in public. Instead of cordoning off the area to preserve vital clues, we have the public rushing in and trampling all over the site with frenetic mediapersons in tow reporting from the now familiar ‘ground zero’. Then there is the famed investigation method. A few suspects are rounded up and given a grilling. It is only later that our lads learn that the prime suspect was just passing by to buy some provisions for the weekend. And with that the case collapses and real culprits are laughing up their sleeve far, far away most probably in another country.
We are consistent in our ability to botch up investigation after investigation. And this goes for other crimes. The delays often lead to witnesses changing their mind. In one infamous case, the witness went from having seen a car on the night of the fateful event to eventually saying it was actually a truck. Had the police waited a little longer the resourceful witness may even have turned the truck into an elephant. But we blunder on, our wonders not to perform. Without a clue, or in such cases clues, about what we are going to do next.