In the last few months, bomb blast incidents have monopolized the headlines / cover stories of leading newspapers and magazines. Each of these have killed a sizeable number of people. By sizeable, I mean around 50 people on an average. We have become so callous that a death toll of 50+ people doesn’t seem to be a big number.
Let me deviate a little from the terror topic to throw some light as to how much we value a human life.
There is atleast one major train accident happening in India every year. Be it the Veligonda train disaster where around 100+ people were killed due to train being washed away due to floods, the incident where a wedding party met its unfortunate end near a level crossing in Nagpur; or the 2006 bomb blasts in Mumbai where about 200 people ‘reportedly’ died; these are all examples where the numbers are 50, 100, 200, 250+.. apart from these we also have terror attacks from time to time; heat / cold waves that take lives [ this again is due to many people living in conditions below the poverty line ]; many such examples of people losing lives can be quoted, and I don’t want to touch those.
Now consider 9/11. In WTC alone about 2500 people are estimated to be dead, an about 200 at the Pentagon. These incidents completely changed the way the world looks at terror. Terrorism got a whole new meaning. Suddenly Al -Qaeda became hugely well known, and the top priority in every known Intelligence agency became Osama Bin Laden. [ Al Qaeda has become so (un)popular that its even stored in the MS Office 2007 (dictionary) that am using to type this entry..!] A tragedy of this magnitude shook the global community and made the world sit up and notice terrorism in a new light. Al Qaeda became THE FACE of terror. CNN was showing Al Qaeda related news for the next 8 months.
Now lets look at a contrasting scenario. Consider the Kashmir issue. The death toll of Indian Jawans till date would surely be a good figure to be compared with that of the WTC. And we hardly bother. We just pity that person’s family for a day or two, give him state honours and that’s it.. done.
The recent bomb blasts at Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Delhi are nails in the coffin for our intelligence dept. So much for the National Capital and the supposed “Silicon Valley” of India. Aren’t these cities as important to us as New York is to the US? These blasts are striking examples of colossal intel failure.
There is a huge difference in handling the same problem. How can this be resolved?
Lets start off with the basics
1. We need a strong intelligence agency modeled on the lines of the CIA / Scotland Yard. We can achieve this by talking to the respective heads of state, perhaps make a deal to train people [if we lack the facilities]. Any sane leader would help us if he has a vision of “the global war on terrorism”.
2. A commission should be set up to monitor the intelligence requirement in a particular country. [ this is on a global level] This should be made as a treaty [like the NPT/CTBT] where there can be member countries which can avail the services of a global intelligence network. But lots of precautions should be taken to make this a fool-proof and a clean system sans corruption.
3. At home, we need to increase the [Judges] to [cases he handles] ratio. If one judge is present for around 10000 cases, obviously the time taken to hear a case and give a verdict, runs to years. People will lose faith in the system. There are examples like the Jessica Lall case where justice was done to her killer [thanks to the media], but there are many Jessicas and Aarushis who haven’t come under the media scanner. What’s their fate? How is justice going to be done to them? So, we need more judges as already mentioned. This is to stabilize the law and order in our country.
4. Anti-corruption agencies must be set up [like the Lok Ayukta] and should be given full powers to penalize the wrong-doer. Corruption must be abolished.
5. Strong Anti-Terror laws must be incorporated [ I don’t know much about this, so am not commenting on that]
And I have one more thing to say. Let us not associate any religion with a terrorist.
A terrorist is a terrorist. Once he decides to become a terrorist, he is no more a Hindu, a Muslim or a Christian – He is a terrorist.
So lets hope our future generations have a better time on this once beautiful planet….