The Mumbai police may have announced a number of measures to ensure that people in the city are aware of terror threats that Mumbai faces, but response from citizens to these measures has been very poor.
According to a survey carried out by a private advertising agency, almost 79 per cent of people in the city are aware of the risks that Mumbai faces and the steps they need to take for countering the threats.
However, only a meager three per cent actually make efforts to contact the police and warn them of suspicious activities, objects or people.
During its Jagrut Mumbai Abhiyaan, the police recently put up 30,000 posters and 5,000 banners in various parts of the city to ensure that people respond to any suspicious activity.
They even put up 15,000 posters in areas that have predominant Muslim population during Eid celebrations.
But, despite all these efforts, the police said that responses from citizens have been lukewarm.
Citizen groups blame it on the way the police function.
“The intentions of senior police officers are very noble when they try to rope in citizens in the fight for upkeep of Mumbai’s safety, but it rarely percolates down to local police officers, who are more keen on hobnobbing with politicians and anti-social elements,” said Aftab Siddiqui, a member of the 33rd Road Khar ALM, adding that policemen at local police stations are least interested in earning the trust of the citizens.
According to Siddiqui, people are also scared of approaching the police, as they fear that it may become troublesome for them.
Farid Shaikh, president of Aman Committee (neighbourhood peace committee), seconded Siddiqui’s opinion. “People are scared of getting involved in police matters,” said Shaikh.
Meanwhile, Additional Commissioner of Police (Protection) Nawal Bajaj said police would try to rope in taxi drivers in their campaign to spread safety awareness in the city.
“During the 26/11 attack and the bombing at Gateway of India in 2003, terrorists had targetted the taxis,” said Bajaj, adding that awareness among them could help the police in preventing untoward incidents.