Change has definitely happened. Change happened in the life of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s mother who was cooking when she got the news of her son’s sad demise. She still cooks, but with tears in her eyes. Komal, the daughter of slain constable Arun Chitte, celebrated her 11th birthday on November 28, 2008. But her father’s death has changed every birthday for her from now on.
But much hasn’t changed for those who didn’t lose anyone that fateful night.
We, very proudly, call it “Spirit of Mumbai”. But do you have any alternative? Indira Gandhi once said that life is a continuous process of adjustment. And we have been doing exactly that — adjusting.
Today one year after 26/11, lots of talk shows are held, articles are written to dig out the unsung heroes, bereaved families. 26/11 will go away, we will move on and 26/11 will remain just a date in the calendar.
The survivors might go down memory lane for a second and thank God that they survived.
Change, we definitely want, but we have only one alternative, that is, to adjust.
Who grieves for the dead other than their kin?
Nothing has changed even after one year of the terror attacks. Security lapses continue, as does the blame game. The home minister, who was removed in the aftermath of 26/11, has been re-elected and has assumed office again.
Law and order problems persist and the police are trying hard to bring peace. But the bureaucrats and politicians seem to have other ideas.
The iconic Hotel Taj had gone to pieces. The jawans who take care of these monuments had not even been provided the best accommodation and were forced to sleep on the streets.
There is no one to think of those who laid down their lives last year, apart from the deceased’s near and dear ones. Many survivors and victims’ kin are still awaiting their compensation from the state and central governments. All they can do is plead for the strictest punishment for Kasab. And what if he escapes from jail one day?
It is time to take corrective steps and punish the guilty, instead of dragging the matter.
Let us work for strengthening security for a peaceful India.
A spineless nation has failed to learn its lessons
Though a year has passed and our hearts still bleed for the victims of the terror attacks, nothing has changed in the security scenario. It’s a pity that although Ajmal Kasab has confessed to the cold-blooded killings, the case is still going on.
Also, the government has no shame in sending dossier after dossier on the terrorists to Pakistan whenever it asks for them, obviously to delay the case for eternity.
Another factor is the preservation of the remains of the nine terrorists in the JJ Hospital morgue.
Why do we still need to preserve these bodies? It has been a year.
While dealing with a small nation like Pakistan, we have proved to be a spineless wonder.
Shouldn’t we as a nation of over a billion people be steadfast like Israel or North Korea?
Remember martyrs always, not just on anniversary
I will never be able to forget November 26, 2008. The constant visuals which were broadcast on news channels are still fresh in my memory.
The jehadis should never be forgiven for killing innocents in the name of religion and God.
It is unacceptable that even after one year of the mayhem, the accused is still languishing behind bars. This sends out signals to the common man that the policymakers are not serious about the loss to human life and property.
Seeing a recent interview with late Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s parents on one of the TV channels, I had tears in my eyes. His father said that he visited Hotel Taj recently and was shocked to find out that no one in the administration had heard of his son, the martyr who laid down his life to save the hotel’s guests and staff.
These martyrs are worthy of being remembered always and not only on the anniversary, as all TV channels do.
Our police force needs meditation, yoga to de-stress
Last year’s terror attacks were an eye-opener for us. As we finish a year to 26/11, I feel the state government has done its bit in working out various strategies to counter terror. A three-tier strategy comprising assault teams, QRTs and inducting Force One is good.
How these units coordinate in times of emergency is yet to be seen. A good amount of effort has been taken in procuring new speedboats, arms and vehicles. The police force seems to be a lot more vigilant. Airport security has also been stepped up.
But a lot of work still needs to be done. While focusing on equipment upgradation, we tend to forget the stress levels that policemen go through. Many of them look weary, stressed out and are carrying out their duty in atrocious living conditions. The government should understand that and ensure that their needs like leave and salary are met.
Conducting stress management courses like yoga and meditation will also help reduce cases of depression and suicide. Also, more policemen need to be recruited and allocated in the right places so that the force is not overburdened.
Considering the increase in the number of people travelling by local trains every day, we need to have more policemen manning the trains and platforms. Many railway stations do not have good- quality metal detectors or CCTVs.
Security at malls needs to be made more stringent. Expediting Kasab’s trial should be on top of the new government’s agenda.
Hanging the terrorist will not root out terrorism
Nothing has improved or changed post-26/11. Are we really prepared today to face a similar attack?
Our security has to be upgraded. CCTVs and cameras need to be installed at all entry and exit points, at stations and airports. Sniffer dogs should be on the prowl daily.
The terror journey started from the sea, because of poor coastal security. There are no regular speedboats patrolling the area. Speedboats consume 100 litres in an hour.
If authorities are concerned about the unnecessary expenditure on fuel, they should remind themselves of the crores being spent to keep Kasab alive.
We need to access risk-prone areas. Aerial patrol is also a must.
In being silent spectators, we are as guilty as the perpetrators. Any suspect activities should be brought to notice.
Hanging the terrorist will not root out terrorism.
We have to focus on prevention of similar acts. We need to be stricter with Kasab. We are very soft in our approach and hence have become an easy target.
The only redeeming factor is that the state has inducted, Force One commandoes to combat terrorism.
You can depend on them provided there is proper co-ordination between different authorities. As long as government response is slow and lukewarm, terrorism will continue from across the border and within.
If you want to sleep in peace at night, do your bit
Hope is a stubborn thing, whatever may be our likings, the dictates of our passion, none of the above can alter hope. However, many thought that our hopes have become hopeless when they witnessed the massacre on November 26, 2008.
But many said now is the time when we need to change, we need to take a stand and need to speak up and show the world how strong we are.
It’s true that civilisations rise and fall not only because of their outer strength but also because of their inner weakness. However, we, the citizens of India, are capable of making our country better with time. We will work as a team and bring down terror.
Touted as the next superpower, we are the biggest democracy. Corruption and other such evils do pull us down, but there is no point in shifting the blame and criticising the government. You, me, the person standing next to you, we are all equally responsible for letting such evils thrive.
Instead of pointing fingers, we need to do our bit and make a fresh start unitedly so that we don’t ever have to see a repeat of last year’s tragic attacks.
In the end I can only hope that this will be an eye-opener not only for the concerned authorities but also for every individual who wants to sleep peacefully in his/her home every night.
Saviours that night did not think of religion, caste
No doubt the Mumbai police were caught off guard on 26/11; otherwise it wouldn’t have taken three days to put an end to the ghastly episode.
Apart from the fact that efforts have been made to revamp the defence against such attacks
in the future, one should remember that the citizens of this metropolis and those who came to rescue the victims never thought of the community,
religion, caste or the language they spoke, and their minds were singularly focused on meeting the challenge of getting people out safely.
A year has passed, and linguistic chauvinism has once again reared its head, with some political outfits trying to outdo each other by dividing people, creating mutual hate and resorting to actions which no civilised society can tolerate, just to promote their political interests. Isn’t this a big change in so short a time?