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No Gossip, No Politics with Terrorism Please…

"26/11 terror strike in Mumbai drew international attention and the act was severely condemned by leaders of most countries. But in the land where it happened, the leaders tried to churn political benefits by blaming each other and fooling people. Leaders of every political party – from the self-claimed nationalists to the extreme regionalists – saw the issue of terrorism on their own political canvass and started a tug-of-war in the name of national security."

Basudev Mahapatra : December 5, 2008

The 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai not only warned India how vulnerable it is to terrorism, but also it exposed the easy going attitude of India’s sleepy intelligence system that couldn’t smell possibility of such an attack even though it had received some inputs about it and was warned by foreign agencies well before. The attack brought to the notice of public how the loud anti-terrorist measures in the country are nothing but for the name shake and how, technically and skill wise, our anti-terrorist squads (ATS) are much behind to deal with the current trends and practices of terrorism world over.

Few terrorists landed up at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal (CST) in Mumbai on November 26 evening with an intention to kill as much of people and cause as much of damage they could. Even though the security personnel present there traced them and tried to face them, they were not equipped enough to deal with the terrorists armed with sophisticated weapons and ammunitions.

On information of presence of some armed terrorists in the city, Mumbai ATS took over the operation but grossly failed in nabbing or killing the terrorists to give the city a quick breath of relief but lost some of its most effective members. The reason, as placed by our leaders and the senior police officials, was that the ATS jawans were less equipped than the terrorists. Soon the National Security Guard (NSG) Commandoes had to take over and gun down the terrorists who took three important establishments of Mumbai like Nariman House, Oberoi Hotel and Tajmahal Hotel Buildings. It’s not only the city of Mumbai, but the whole country felt terrorised for about 60 hours till the ‘operation black tornado’ (as the NSG chief termed the operation) was successfully accomplished.

The terror attack and the subsequent operation to free the establishments from the terrorists brought to public many systemic flaws in the defence system of India and political leaders’ urge to politicise such act of terrorism. When the whole nation was stunned with the terror attack in Mumbai, the political leaders seemed easy responding to the incident before media.

The attack made it clear that how ineffective our intelligence and internal security systems are in gathering information on such possibilities and getting control over the situation and the miscreants on such incidence. It was very unfortunate to see the union home minister Sree Prakash Jaiswal talking on TV that the government now realises the necessity of upgrading its defence force and the security agencies to face the challenges from terrorists of the present scale. When terrorism has become a global problem and, in the attacks on WTC and London railway, terrorists have shown how equipped and ruthless they could be, home ministers great realisation seemed to be a hard slap on the face of Indians who have placed these leaders on the chairs to rule.

26/11 terror strike in Mumbai drew international attention and the act was severely condemned by leaders of most countries. But in the land where it happened, the leaders tried to churn political benefits by blaming each other and fooling people. Leaders of every political party – from the self-claimed nationalists to the extreme regionalists – saw the issue of terrorism on their own political canvass and started a tug-of-war in the name of national security. No leader came out of the political and party limits and urged for strong measures and urgent action for combating terrorism. But everybody tried to fulfil its own interest in the recent incident of terrorism n the commercial capital of the country.

One party urged re-execution of POTA, where the other party tried to make afresh the issue of Marathi Manus – North Indian conflict in Mumbai and Maharastra. As elections are on the head, some leaders tried to bag the image of most accountable by politically guillotining few ministers at almost the end of their tenure. Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil resigned from the cabinet making himself accountable for what happened in Mumbai. But Mr. Patil, where was your sense of accountability during serial blasts in Delhi and Rajasthan? Where was your sense of accountability during the violence against north Indians in Mumbai and Assam?

It seems, the resignation of union home minister is motivated by the possibility of sympathy in the coming general election more than his sense of true accountability to the nation and the society. However, Mr. Patil’s resignation became the true guillotine for Maharastra Chief Minister Bilash Rao Desmukh and His Deputy R. R. Patil who had to vacate their berths immediately against their will.

>>> Scroll down to read rest of the Story


In only two days after the city was made free from terror, the situation turned into a political drama. People came forward to blame and scold the political leaders to be caught by TV camera.

Instead of disseminating the whole incident and operation in the form of pure information, the media, in toto, engaged itself in blaming the politicians, the system and even created further panic by explaining some hypothetical concepts of terror attack based upon apprehensions and unsupported or indirectly hinted by some sources.

The reports of WTC and London tube rail blasts aired on American and British Channels must be taken as examples here. Their media also reported the incidents live, but more ethically, more responsibly as the media of a nation. They would be equally allured by TRP, but not at the cost of ethics, the people and the nation. They never imposed a conclusive statement in any of their reports but just carried the views of the designated government official and authority of the investigating agencies. But our media made lots of conclusive statements from its own even though based upon information from certain sources. The Mumbai Terror strike dominated the TV screen for over double the time it continued, as no other news beyond it was as saleable as the live coverage from the site of terror.

Indian media could have taken a more responsible role by holding public reaction on the small screen and pressurising the government at the centre and the state come up with a strong law against any kind of terrorism in the country – be it by internal or external or supported by any external terrorist organisation.

Since 1990s till today, India has been the victim of most violent terrorist activities. Every time after an incident of terrorism, India shouts loudly. But it soon forgets the fury by putting the blames on the political leaders. This time also, the fury of terror strike has been diluted in a week. The focus shifted to selection of new CM and his deputy in Maharastrsa. Nobody, including the media and the political parties, is interested in establishing a strong law with provisions of exemplary punishment to those involved in any act of terrorism directly or indirectly. Even after decades of its fight against terrorism, the irony is that India doesn’t have a strong law for quick trial of cases of terrorism and punish the terrorists.

Apart from lingering process of trial, indefinite delay in punishment is also another reason that gives the terrorists a breath of relief. Like in case of the mastermind of Parliament attack Afzal Guru, the country is afraid of executing the punishment that has been sentenced by the Supreme Court since more than five years.

Acting as the media of the nation, Indian Press and Media must act responsibly and create public pressure for quick implementation of a stronger law that can help checking terrorism in the land and keep people and the land free from continuous terrorist attack.

And the political leaders must act as representatives of people than of their own parties. Instead of looking for a political dimension of everything, the leaders must cross their party lines in time such emergencies and work to ensure peace and safety to each and every citizens of the land.

When it is terrorism, people don’t want any gossip or politics from either media or leaders, but what they look for is acting fast and responsibly.



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