As many as 1920 people have died in 64 terror attacks these past 30 years. That killers ready to do the dirty are already in the mainstream is a given. How many we don’t know but the barbarians have passed the gate.
At this very moment we have been told there are 10 terrorists who came through Gujarat and could possibly have reached Delhi with intent to do harm. They are on the loose.
They haven't come for tea and biscuits and a chinwag. They want to kill as many of us as possible.
Yet, there seems to be no sense of urgency in the public or the media or even the local authorities. There is no community awareness, no localities have initiated any watchdog procedures, many of the sensitive installations are happily porous and having announced that there is a high alert the follow ups are lightweight.
Take a big car, get chauffeur driven, wear a suit and tie and act ‘balshee’ in English and the odds are you will get past many a gate. The ‘sahib’ syndrome is still well and alive and thriving in Delhi. Seeing as how killers are ready to die for their cause they would not let a couple of roller gates and dinky mirrors on rods deter them. The porous nature of our public security is largely suspect. How tough is it to get to the airport, a railway station, to a hotel, to a government office, a campus, a bus depot, a market?
Not so long ago, despite a 24-hour warning to the base, terrorists were able to get past the guardhouse and into the air force compound at Pathankot. Even more recently the militants forged their way into the JEKD Institute at Pampore and could have held 150 civilians as hostages.
So, the reality exists. No ‘alert’ has much value per se if the public is not part of the vigilance. By now there should have been a campaign at the colony level on radio and TV, repeatedly educating people to look out for strangers in the locality, odd activity, movements, unusual packages, anything out of the ordinary.
There should have been special hotlines, a crisis call centre should have been set up.
Ten killers hidden amid the Capital is a huge risk factor. Let them know we know and are on the lookout.
We are just not emergency trained. The idea in turning on the heat is not to create panic but to generate awareness. Even for the media it is a middling story, not about to get TRPs or eyeballs or whatever the current label is. It was reported and it is done. The fact that no one knows where the terrorists are and what and who they could be targeting is an abysmally low priority.
Ten killers with guns and who knows what else. That is a lot of hostile firepower. And if they have local support, the damage potential intensifies exponentially. So the more noise we make and the closer the sounds of the ‘hakka’ as we beat the bushes the more likely these guys will get flushed out.
For a moment, forget about azaadi and get on the ball to save ourselves. We cannot expect the authorities to do anything if we don’t individually get behind them.
Have offices warned their staff? Have school teachers told their wards to be careful? Are we a little more careful of getting into large gatherings? Is security at shopping malls heightened? Have we discussed the threat with our children? Checked out if the schoolbus fleet has been given enhanced security? Cruelly, children are a target.
One would expect full page ads cautioning people, elaborating the role they can play. Using TV and radio to advantage.
A dozen things we could do rather than allow our casual indifference to play Russian Roulette with life. It is almost a fatalistic ‘we don’t care, not our problem,’ attitude. We cannot keep hiding behind karma and fate and que sera sera. We must have a 2st century mindset.
The enemy is here.
Be a little honest. How has your life or schedule changed in the three days since you heard that 10 men arguably loaded with armament and itching to do you harm are out there waiting for the right moment as they see it? Not a bit, just a glance at the headline, a few words from the TV screen, not my business.
It is. Time to get our priorities straight. At least take it seriously.
And they may not be in Delhi. They may be in your city. How do you like them apples?