The recent Mumbai terrorist attack was by any means one of the worst which we have faced. All the dead and injured tells the complete story of the attack. The whole world saw the 3 day encounter live on their televisions. The entire country mourned as the security personnel bravely fought. A lot of talking is currently on about the incident. Lots of blame games are played and too many conclusions are been drawn. But one thing which everyone agrees to, it was a total failure on our part. Yes it was and it still is.
Everyone is trying to mend things and ensure that nothing like this happens in future. They are talking about government’s role, they are talking about media’s role and they are talking about intelligence agency’s role. It is good that after the incidence we have started talking, something which should have been done long ago because unless and until talking is done you don’t find solutions to problems.
The failure which is the hot topic of discussion has three phases to it, that’s why it is a complete failure. First phase was before the incident took place, second being during the mishap and third is the one currently on i.e. the aftermath. Let’s talk about the three phases one by one.
Phase I- Pre attack:
The government and the intelligence had already drawn huge amount of criticism for their inability to avert the mishap. The Indian intelligence had enough information to stop the attack even before it had occurred. Proper utilization of the information and channelizing in time would have not only foiled the attack saving hundreds of lives but also a golden chance for the government to establish people’s lost faith in them.
A lot has been already said about it. So there is no point discussing it again and again. On 6th December Prem Shankar Jha carried a full story in Hindustan Times by the name ‘How a plot was lost’ http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=670402c7-0965-4015-8fce-895c685efbbc which talked about the intelligence failure at every step. How in recent years the government has deteriorated the Indian intelligence and made it incapable and incompetent for any kind of emergency.
The lack of will to take action and the irresponsible beauracracy cost many lives, both civilian and personnel. Had right people acted at the right time, we would have not suffered so much.
Phase II- During the incident:
The intelligence failure is one part of the story, the other being the handling of the situation. Everyone at that time went berserk, the media, security forces, NSG, Marine Corps, the polity. None knew how to handle the situation and act in times of crisis like this.
The media was busy in showing anything they can lay their hands on. Printing stories which were nowhere near to truth. Picture this, I read on rediff that ATS chief Hemant Karkare reached the incident site, took out his AK-47 [which he carried all the time in his ambassador] and dashed at the terrorists all alone without even a bullet proof jacket. He met his demise while fighting bravely on the battle ground and trying to save many. Similar was the story about encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and ACP Ashok Kamte. They made Karkare more of a bigger hero by adding the Malegaon blast probe angle to it.
Actually all the three top officials were on their way to a hospital to see an injured constable, when the terrorists attacked their car and killed the ATS chief, the ACP and encounter specialist alongwith 4 other constables [one of them survived to spill the beans]. The actual version is now available on rediff and many other places http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/nov/29mumterror-how-karkare-kamte-salaskar-were-killed.htm. The earlier story is missing from rediff but it is still doing the rounds at other places http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=150912. The pictures which news channels showed were nothing but file footages.
What they all were doing that they were not even able to fire a single bullet, forget about killing? Such was the end of ATS chief who carried an AK-47 along and the encounter specialist who specialized in killing. What can poor constables or an ACP do in such a scenario?
Moreover can anyone please tell me why the three were not at the scene of action where the actual brave; their men were fighting and laying their lives? Is it not the responsibility of the chief to lead them? Instead the three were on their escape way in pretext of seeing an injured constable. It would have been better had the visit was made after the situation was under control. Who is responsible for the death of all the security personnel who died because their commander was absent to instruct them properly? On whose hands is their blood, those who should have lead them from front with proper strategy, those who gave such a big responsibility to unworthy and irresponsible men or those who made heroes out of cowards?
The people deserve to know truth, and the responsibility for this falls on media’s shoulder, who is everytime busy in giving ‘Breaking Views’ instead of news.
The media said polity is playing politics on the whole issue and accused them of not being serious. Excuse me; they are called the polity because it is their job to play politics. Unless and until discussions, criticism, debates are not done solutions and answers can’t be found. If they are not doing so then they are not doing their job. It also said Indian leadership is not fit to take any action and all are equally bad, drawing parallels between the parliament attack and recent incidences [about which we will talk later]. Hence they keep on saying that the public should take matters in their own hands now. Is this not what happened in Malegaon when people actually took matters in their own hands? The same media then came up with a new term ‘Hindu Terrorist’.
But then again media is also very rightly drawing huge amount of criticism and the questions about the role of media are being asked. Just like Mr. Advani said in parliament, I will not raise the questions which are already being asked, for I believe the responsible will definitely look into the matter.
All this has already happened and instead of cribbing about the past we should be concerned about the present and the future. But in the phase three of this crisis we are still proving to be a failure. How? Will talk about it next time.