It’s been a long, crazy night. Gun toting terrorists have attacked Mumbai’s hotspots – The Taj and Oberoi hotels, Cafe Leopold in Colaba, Cama hospital in that area and CST station. More than 100 people have been reported killed, including three top cops – Vijay Saluskar, Ashok Kamte and ATS Chief Hemant Karkare. Two car blasts have been reported – one at Dockyard road and another at Vile Parle.
This is all happening 40 kilometers from here, on the other side of the creek. I’m helpless. And furious. And very belligerent, towards the terrorists. I want revenge, definitely, and I definitely want answers to why we can’t work to eliminate such people from existence?
But that is difficult. People will be bad, because they can. What we can do is to create a better reaction philosophy and a better process for the intelligence.
What do I mean?
- ATS chief Hemant Karkare died despite wearing a bulletproof vest – and he died of chest wounds. If you look at the video of the bullet proof jacket wearing procedure it would be obvious to you why – the vest was totally unreliable. We need far better equipment to protect our forces. Helmets, masks, better guns, sharpshooters, everything. Why can’t we fund this better?
- The ambulance support and basic knowledge of first aid is missing. People on TV are shown handling the injured in terrible ways – we need to disseminate knowledge on how to handle victims, and how for instance not to move them if they are grieviously injured (it could render them invalid).
- We need drills for reporters. Most of them were preventing help reaching hte injured. Yet others were spreading random rumours. We need a set of codes that the press must live by in these times, applying to cameramen, reporters and TV channels alike.
- We need to decongest our cities. If our cities are as crowded as they are today there is absolutely no chance of preventing another attack. Remember, this entire attack was planned by 20 or so people who got themselves some grenades, rifles and bombs. How can intelligence detect this in a billion people?
- We have to arm our intelligence better – mobile phones were being used, but why can’t we have a setup that IMMEDIATELY blocks or traces all mobile activity ina couple of buildings? A lot of our intelligence has to be digital both from a surveillance and tracking aspect and from the reaction aspect. We need a CBI on the ground that can react fast – our army has done a great job and I am deeply regretful for all the lives lost in this process, but we do need a better armed force on the ground. The cops have lost lives needlessly, and have very little intelligence support in such operations.
- Can someone tell me why the cable tv and electricity to the buildings wasn’t immediately cut off? What’s the point if the terrorists can see your operations from the inside?
- We definitely need to upgrade standard equipment and personnel at sensitive areas. All these places – the Taj, Oberoi and CST – had police protection on, and detection equipment, but it was totally inadequate. These forces need to be upgraded, trained etc.
- Why don’t we have a better radio setup? I want to see helmets with inbuilt radio instead of only mobile phones. All emergency communication equipment needs to be setup fast, and we need a nationwide network for this piggybacking on mobile towers. THis is not difficult – the military can vacate some spectrum, which will be given to the phone companies for emergency situation handling. The phone companies will get paid to keep this bit alive and running at all times.
- CCTV footage shows a bunch of people have held the city hostage. This cannot be prevented by pure intelligence. But we can have a better reaction setup. At this point I feel ashamed that we are doing knee jerk reactions and that our cops are scared because they aren’t trained to fight something like this. Get better training, and a complete plan dammit. We say we have brains – let’s use them, let’s frame a reaction policy. I don’t mean “them” – I mean you and me.
These are my first thoughts and I am deeply saddened by the events of the night. I don’t care about how the “image” of India is to foreigners or how “unsafe” India is or if “India risk” has gone up. Someone thinking about that can take that and shove it up their backside. We have to solve this problem – and if FIIs want to take their money out or if someone thinks they must shut down their India offices – DO IT, DAMMIT. We have to solve our problems, and we know we have a problem, and we need support, not cry-baby-ism.
I had suggested, long back, after another terrorist attack, how I planned to create a fund to help kill these terrorists. I think it’s time to revive that thought. Pay people to kill terrorists, and to eliminate every single terror preaching bastard from the planet. This applies to all kinds of terrorists – the ULFA and LTTE included. Let’s get the bastards.