Thursday, July 14, 2011

Terror Strikes in Mumbai Raise Security Questions in India

Barnali Saha

Every time it is the same—a newspaper cover graced with howling faces, intimate albeit hazy pictures of mangled corpses or half-dead men, women and children being hauled to some medical establishment, and a series of listlessly aggressive reports posted under red-banner like headings dictating the failure of the governmental institution in preventing another terrorist mayhem in India.

Following 26/11, after only a short period of metabolic depression, terror raises its head in Mumbai, India’s financial capital, once again. A series of blasts in principal locations in the city, including the crowded Dadar neighborhood; Zaveri Bazaar, a popular jewelry market; and near the Opera House, ripped through the city at the height of rush hour traffic on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people, injuring 141.

The sophisticated IED explosives with a timer mechanism and the discovery of an unidentified body with an embedded electric circuit, at Zaveri Bazar have triggered speculations of foreign hand behind the attack. A day after the serial blasts the conspiracy theories are being unleashed in no uncertain manner and the finger is pointed once again at the intelligence agencies, and their failure to protect the people.

"Whoever perpetrated these attacks has worked in a very, very clandestine manner," Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram said. "It's not a failure of intelligence." Yet the growing resentment of the public against the government and the politicians is well evident. And even though Chidambaram added, “we will find out who is behind these attacks," the citizens of the terror-struck city seems to know better.

 “This raises a series of serious questions about the effectiveness of our intelligence and the level of coordination between the central and state agencies. I bitter and helpless,” said Panchali Sengupta, a homemaker.

 “It is the same Home minister, who was responsible for 26/11 and he is there still now; coalition Ministry in Maharashtra killing my dear state. It is now most corrupt lethargic state, said Chanchal Chakrabarty, a long time Mumbaikar.

After 26/11 the government had announced well-platted plans about rebooting the country’s security-system. But the 13/7 attacks have evidently laid open the fact that the governmental agencies have been unsuccessful in recalling the lessons learned during the past season of bloody carnage.

As investigators struggle to find clues to the identity of the terror-group that perpetrated Wednesday’s serial blasts and the government plays the blame-game, the people in India who need to commute everyday feel threatened and insecure. As recently as in May 25, 2011, a series of low intensity blasts outside the Delhi High court have raised the possibility of further outrage in Delhi too. "Living in the most troubled neighborhood, every part of India is vulnerable,” Chidambaram said. And the people of India know what he means.

Is the constant breach in security ultimately the result of deep-rooted corruption in the Indian political system, or is it simply that India has ultimately accepted the role of itself as a subservient high-school kid used to being bullied by powerful anti-parties? Or that the measures the Indian government plans are balked from application by such in vivo political issues like the Lok Pal bill and the recent 2G scam?

Whatever the case may be, life in India moves on nonetheless, and people get used to sudden periods of spasmodic high-security followed by a lull, and then another terror-attack just boosts up the campaign only to fall back once again. As the list of unresolved terror cases in India gather fresh records, we, the people of India, are at a loss as to our future in the trouble-torn ground of the Indian Republic.