If the intention behind Saturday’s blasts was terrorising people, Delhi has shown she is not scared. Moreover, not just politicians but several citizens’ groups have also condemned the attacks, with a few even carrying out silent marches.
But is this the way a civil society should react? How about thinking as to what we are doing to prevent such incidents? There can be a system in place for regular disaster management drills, investment in security equipment, developing a fool-proof access control system in markets and even in residential areas, among others steps.
But are the residents and markets prepared?
Rajiv Karkaria of Greater Kailash RWA says they have been holding drills for health and disasters like fire. “But we have no information about how and what to do in case of a terror attack. Select members of the RWA are in regular touch with local police and we also have security guards etc,” Karkaria adds.
Agrees Sanjay Kaul, chairperson of United RWA Joint Action (URJA), “Most RWAs have no security drill for anything, leave alone terror attacks. Yes, such drills should be compulsory for all to attend.” URJA has ensured that residents are kept informed about the contact numbers of local police and other essential services through newsletters. “But in general, we are way behind as a united society. RWAs’ role should be first to make people aware of their rights and what they should do,” adds Kaul.
But more than the residential areas, busy market places are most vulnerable to terrorist attacks. The onus basically lies on the market associations to have a security system in place. According to Rajendra Sarda, president of Main Market Welfare Association Greater Kailash I, the trick lies in combining traditional methods with modern gadgets. “We have put in place a security drill using a public address system. We already have four CCTV cameras and planning to install more,” Sarda says.
Other measures include tight access control. But there can be several practical problems as in the case of Shankar Market. The market is used as a thoroughfare by railway passengers. It is really hard to work out any system.
Says Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat, “(apart from these measures) We encourage public to be our ‘eyes and ears’. People’s identity is not revealed.”