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The commitment of under-equipped cops to the city and its challenging demands is questionable
Posted On Friday, February 26, 2010 at 12:28:09 AM
If this cop was put on bandobast duty post the German Bakery bombing, as a confidence-building measure for the unnerved public here, we have a new metaphor at hand.
To get the joke, stop thinking about the missing socks and think about the bigger security issue at hand. And laugh if you can. Laugh if you want to.
Between the joke and the laughter, people work, live, sleep, love and dream in a city which is fast turning into a global asset of the New Economy. And now, they must dread.
But then see again this man, his uniform, his lathi, his body and its language. Pan your eyes like a television camera at slow-motion speed. Wonder about this man: What is he up to? How is his family? His salary and perks? What is his association with the city he is out there to protect? As Facebook would ask, what is on his mind? What about his motivation levels? Imagine him uttering Jai Hind like a flag at half mast.
Is this how we are going to scare terror away? Is this how we are going to instil in the people confidence about safety in public places? Who is going to be scared and who is going to feel more confident? You or the guy with that backpack? Soft targets are for everyone.
The reporters of this paper went to check the railway station here and found out that no one was monitoring the functional metal detectors. Not one person has been challaned on the basis of images captured by CCTVs installed at traffic signals.
In a spurt of action, girls riding two-wheelers were asked by the cops not to cover their faces by scarves, saying it is a punishable offence; and in the next breath, the ban was lifted.
It is amazing, the city police pat themselves on the back for enforcing the law on seatbelts in cars, but fail to enforce the law on helmets. But, they suddenly suspect every face covered with a scarf as a potential threat and a cause of terror.
Tomorrow, it will be a fortnight since the German Bakery blast, but the brightest investigative minds have not been able to produce so far a single convincing lead on the terror attack.
I am sure they have compelling reasons to remain tight-lipped about the vital clues they have been analysing all the while.
And we have just commenced an official chat with Pakistan on various issues, although India insisted on keeping it centred on terrorism. I am not sure if India brought up the German Bakery blast in the talks.
We are sure the girls with scarves, and cyber cafes around the IT parks of Hinjewadi may be under the scanner. Some of the cafes had applied for licences more than a year-and-a-half back, but some sahibs were too busy or sleepy to even take a look into them.
Astonishingly, when we talk about future cities, new economic hubs and new metros of modern India with globalised crowds, atmosphere and civil society, we pursue a very lazy, confused, tentative and an ad hoc approach.
Going by records, the police had all the intelligence, and they had advised the people and the establishments. The police, apparently, did a great job in issuing advisories. That its own personnel do not follow them seriously is a different matter.
And if people tend to follow more of what police personnel do than what their advisories say, what can be done? So, the quintessential Puneite would take his whole family of, at least, four people on his bike, without wearing a helmet and even talk on the mobile phone while driving, as his privilege of living in a ‘free’ country.
The chances are that he may not be charged, unlike the guy driving without a seatbelt. As cities based on the new economy have newer challenges, they can’t be managed with the lathi alone.
In the Bangalore fire tragedy this week, the floors of the building that caught fire were higher than the reach of fire tenders. We have similar buildings in Pune too.
And we expect the brave firefighters to be there without the right equipment to douse the fire even before ascertaining the exact cause.
The butt of the joke is not this guy without the socks. Nor the ones who are laughing. It is you, your work, your life, your family, your freedom and your democratic rights. Don’t complain you didn’t receive prior advice!
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