When a Country is attacked in such an audacious and ruthless way as the LeT Terrorists did in Mumbai in the last week of November 2008, the first reactions usually are shock,disbelief and numbness. Almost everybody felt that and such reaction was visible in the interviews,in letters and emails in Newspapers and Visual media during the first few days.
Then questions began to be asked. Who is behind the attack?How we could be attacked so easily? Who is to be blamed for this attack? . . . . etc
That those behind the attack were Islamist terrorists, probably members of LeT from Pakistan with or without the support of ISI,was evident. Predictably angry words demanding action against Pakistan State was heard loud from the TV studios.
How we could be attacked so easily?
Now everybody became experts in guns and security systems. The 303 Rifle [I knew the name of it only after the Mumbai attacks]which we always thought was adequate became an outdated gun fit to be thrown in to dustbin. The fact that most of the Policemen have not fired a shot from his gun for several years was discovered. How easily we can succumb to the bullets of a Jihadi terrorist firing indiscriminately with his A K 47 came as a chilling fear in our minds.Some Politicians have SPG protection with better guns became a talking point.Demands that we also should have same security was raised.
Now let me share with you what the real Security Experts in the World are saying.
‘The style of attacks in Mumbai represents a complete change from traditional terrorist operations. Mobile, trained and well prepared terrorist units engaged on suicide missions outside conflict zones are a new phenomenon’.
Speaking to London’s Sunday Telegraph, Britain’s former SAS Chief explained that the U.K. was not prepared to handle such an attack. “Our unarmed police would be able to do very little except report in. There would be many hours of chaos before the police, backed by the military counter-terrorist response teams, were in a position to contain, let alone neutralise, the terrorist threats.” The worry is that the obvious effectiveness of these terrorist actions will inspire similar training for strikes around the world.
In short this was quite an unexpected mode of attack.It is always easy to be wise after the incident.
Who is to blame for this attacks?
The obvious choice would be the Government which includes the Concerned ministries in both Central and State Government,Intelligence agencies, Police, Coast Guard, Navy and the Hotel authorities who it seemed were warned few days ago.
So how did our Visual media act?
The main aim of the Visual media was to earn maximum Television Rating Points.So they wanted to channelise the shock and anger of Citizens in such a way that more people will watch their channels. Thus the Visual media rather than being the messenger started behaving like the actor,like the chosen one who will clean up the mess in the system.They started the blame game.
Now training guns against the Police is tricky. Some of the senior most officers have been killed in the attacks, and the story of heroism of many Police men on that dreaded days were being published one after the other. Same is true for the Navy as the Naval commandos did a commendable job. Coast Guard and Intelligence people are invisible culprits,not a good choice at throwing stones and earning TRP.Even though Ratan Tata himself said he was warned few days ago before the attack,but could not do much to increase the security,he could not be blamed because he is the poster boy of India Inc and such a story may result in loss in ads.
The TV Channels who came under severe attack for its insensitive TRP hunting 24 hour coverage of 26/11 attacks wanted to deflect criticism from themselves. There was a real fear among them that the Government will set up a regulatory authority for Visual media in view of that atrocious coverage.Most probably it was to counter this threat that they started a vicious campaign against Politicians as a class. More over they realised that such a malicious campaign will increase their viewership and TRPs.
The celebrities and urban elite who never had any love for politicians[unless they want some favour from them] gleefully joined. They were seen furiously shouting from the TV studios that they are paying huge amount of taxes and they should be assured fool proof security.[ie those who are not in the Income tax bracket-may be around 70% of Indian Population,need not have security but they should as they are paying for it.The truth is the percentage of their income the poor pay as indirect taxes when they buy things for their day to day life is much greater than what rich pay].There were even ‘threats’ that they will stop paying taxes unless they get SPG protection like the Politicians. Even the name of Gandhiji was heard comparing this threat with his Salt Sathyagraha
Some of the middle class,[who always aim to be and apes the upper class] took the same Politician bashing line following the ‘National’ Visual media.
Some Bloggers followed suit.There were calls for military rule, or an ‘autocratic’ rule by Industrial Icons of India like Tata and Narayana Moorthy. One [may be as an insensitive joke]was saying the ‘whole country’ wanted the terrorists to kill Parliamentarians in the 2001 Parliament attack. The point of Paying Income taxes ‘regularly‘ came again and again, meaning the defaulters and poor need less security. Petitions asking for immediate attack on Pakistan based Terrorists camps were passed around for signatures.
The English news channels and those who fell in to their trap believed that there was widespread anger throughout the country against ‘Politicians’ as a class. Actually there was never such a thing outside the big Metros and the Internet.In most of the small towns in India including mine the Political and Social leaders along with the Public.belonging to all religion and Parties came together for silent processions and prayers. Most notable was the emotion and passion against terror from the Muslim Community. This lack of frenzy against politicians as a class were evident from almost all regional language newspapers and TV channels and also from the English newspapers that I read published from South of the Country. The Nation as a whole closed ranks in mourning and deep determination to fight the terror unitedly.This was in sharp contrast to the braying for the blood of Politicians that emanated from the TV Studios.
The review of mistakes that we might have made allowing the cold blooded murder of hundreds in Mumbai should not be done in hysterical frenzy but with a calm and calculated approach.
This Post is not to absolve the Government or the Political leaders from the blame for 26/11,but is to warn the Public not to fall in to the trap of Corporate Media and the elite,having vested interests in defaming politicians, especially those whom they cant buy.Defaming Political Parties and Politicians as a ‘Class'[rather than constructive critisism] will make India another Pakistan.