Tomorrow, it’ll be exactly a year after the gruesome 26/11 attacks on Mumbai. Hundreds of people were killed and just as many families were changed forever. We cannot alter what has already happened but the least we can do is learn from our mistakes and oversights and make sure that another terror attack doesn’t leave us reeling.
The onus of our safety doesn’t only rest on the government’s shoulders like a lot of us would like to believe, but a major part of the responsibility lies in our hands as well. Security definitely can do with improvement, but so can our attitudes. How safe are we, really? And more importantly, how many of us are truly prepared for what “tighter security” entails? Will any arrangements ever be enough to rid us of the nagging fear that the attacks have embedded in our minds?
A look at what students in Delhi have to say :
Sonali Hasija, Hindu College
” I think we are in a much better position than we were a year back. I haven seen a sudden improvement in the security establishment. installation of the baggage checking machines at metro stations is an example of this. the level of vigilance has increased substantially. We learnt our lesson well on 26/11 and we have learnt to prevent and cope with similar situations. Therefore, I definitely feel safer today than I did a year back.”
According to me, the focus of this debate is utterly problematic and short-sighted. Terrorist attacks don’t happen because of tight or not-so-tight security; they happen for reasons that are far deeper, far more structural. And a metal detector or a hidden camera will not change anything. For the threat of terrorism to really be uprooted, we need to focus on its root causes rather than its overt manifestation- Kriti Budhiraja
M.A student, JNU
Devkanaya Chakraborty, Hindu College, ” I do not feel any safer than I felt a year back. I appreciate the fact that the security measures have increased, with the frisking and baggage-checking machines installed at various places, but they seem really superficial. I really don’t mind being frisked, but I do mind when the woman frisking people doesn’t check me properly. I don’t mind getting my bag checked, but i do mind it when then person looking at the scanner doesn’t seem to care about what is actually going through the machine. I think I can easily sneak in some objectionable item into, say, the metro stations. If I think I can, then a person who is intelligent enough and has devious intentions certainly can.”
Preeti Gulati, St. Stephen’s College, “Since there hasn’t been a terrorist attack for a year, there really is no yardstick to measure our security cover. However, this too cannot be attributed to better preventive measures because it’s not like we hear of foiled attempts either. The only one that actually made headlines was the one done by the CIA. However I do feel that there is a shortage of manpower in security enforcement services. As a result, the security measures aren’t implemented effectively. I do feel safe. But as safe as I did a year ago. this is something i cannot attribute to the security measures though.”
Devika Dutt : Hindu College :See, even though so far there haven’t been any major terrorist strikes since 26/11 doesn’t mean that the terrorists have been unsuccessful. The very fact that they have made us doubt our security and made a lot of people feel unsafe about stepping out of their house speaks volumes about their success. as the basic aim of terrorists is to instill fear in the hearts of people. I mean, people still fear going to crowded places, and not only because of swine flu. People still feel that the police men, women and other security personnel aren’t doing their job properly, even if they might, thus meaning that the terrorists have in fact, to some extent, succeeded.
Being well aware and being well prepared are two very different things. 26/11 has made India well aware of the threat that constantly stares us in the face. However we are in no way well prepared to tackle the situation. This year we witnessed nothing but diplomatic statements tossed back and forth between India and Pakistan with the US playing referee.
Secondly , Safety for Delhites is a matter of wishful thinking. No one can every really feel safe considering the number of atrocious crimes committed every day. Terror is certainly a big factor contributing to this insecurity but what makes matters worse is the evident lack of protection and security measures undertaken by the government. When daily crimes go unchecked who will stop terror? As it is with the rate of corruption and two faced nature of the government one has lost faith in the judicial and administration system. There is actually no one to guard the ‘guardians’. Politicians care more about the language that an oath is taken in rather than ensuring that the content of the oath is put in practice.
-2nd Year Student, LSR
“ Yes, India has come a long way in terms of its security background checks and measures. I feel that we certainly are better equipped to deal with terrorism. As for the question of my sense of personal security , I safely commute daily to college via autos and the metro , and find nothing wrong with them .”
Mehak 1st year student, Hansraj College