Under fire for failure to prevent yet another terror strike on Mumbai, home minister RR Patil has a new explanation for the repeated attacks — indiscipline, dense population and encroachments on city’s roads.
“Mumbai is a soft target for terrorists because it doesn't have any kind of discipline. It is densely populated and almost 150 news hutments are added every day. There is a lot of encroachment, like in the form of hawkers, who are difficult to displace. It is very easy to place bombs in the city,” Patil said in reply to a debate in the state legislature on Tuesday.
The home minister came under heavy fire from members of the opposition, who sought his resignation as well as that of the state government. Patil, in particular, found himself in a tough spot as three major terror strikes happened between 2006 and 2011 when he headed the home department. It may be recalled that Patil had to quit after the November 2008 terror attack.
Patil denied that the terror attacks were a result of inefficiency of the police and failure of the state anti-terror policy. He said that the force was doing better on all fronts, and politicians needed to boost the morale of security personnel, who are battling against all odds. He dismissed allegations that the government did not learn its lesson from the 26/11 terror attack. “We have implemented most of the recommendations made by the Pradhan Committee,” Patil said. However, he admitted that he made a mistake by not discussing the report with Ram Pradhan after the latter tabled the document. Patil, though, stated that he expected Pradhan to write to him expressing his desire to deliberate on security matters.
The minister did not explain why the government delayed installation of the 5,000 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the city. Instead, he appreciated individuals and establishments who have installed more than 13,000 cameras across the city at their own cost. “We will implement the project very soon, and before doing it, I will take opposition leader [Eknath Khadse] to study the CCTV system in London.”