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Too big to handle

There is little that the authorities can do to ensure safety at soft terror targets, writes Princy Jain.

india Updated: Jul 14, 2006 15:13 IST

India’sdate with terrorist attacks has only progressed from bad to worse to dreadful. Yet another date joins the statistics — 11/7. While the number of dead keeps increasing bomb blast after bomb blast, we are forced to ponder over one commonality in all such recent terror attacks — terrorists have struck at crowded places like railway stations, markets, malls, cinemas, bus terminals — the very places which people like you and me frequent almost daily. So, are we safe? And for how long? Or should we just be thankful that we were spared this time round?

Free access

What makes places like a railway station, temple or a cinema vulnerable to terror targets is that these places have a high footfall at any point of time, which itself implies that it is diffi cult to keep a security check on all the goings-on. But if airports can be guarded, then why not a railway station? Reasons Delhi Police Commissioner, KK Paul, “The difference is in the crowd that frequents these places. While railway stations and markets are easily accessible, airports witness a controlled crowd.”

Manpower matters

So, is the level of security inversely proportional the crowd density? On the condition of anonymity, an official of the Central Industrial Security Force says, “There has to be a proper system to channelise a big crowd, which means more manpower and more expenses.” Adds DCP AS Cheema, “We rely on profiling followed by security check in case there is some suspicion. But if we check each passenger boarding a train, the train would not leave at all.” So, that leaves us with only one hope — of not being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Which part of Delhi do you find the most unsafe?

"The whole city is crowded, but Chandni Chowk & Lajpat Nagar are the most unsafe" 

— JJ Valaya, designer

"Cinemas & areas which have many eateries and shops are the most unsafe in the city"

— Cheena Wig, socialite

"Is there a safe place in Delhi? Except Rashtrapati Bhavan, no place is safe"

— Palash Sen, singer