The November 26 attacks evoke strong reactions from citizens, after the strikes there was tremendous response from civil society. DNA asks Mumbaikars about measures needed to protect the city.
Be discreet about details of revamp
The most fitting tribute for the massacre of November 26 is that we should not be talking about it. A few men held the whole city to ransom, so it was a failure on part of the system. If people really wanted to make a difference, they would have come out in large numbers to vote. But this did not happen and the same government came to power. Also it’s important for the government to stop publicising about its activities through the media. Why does the whole world have to know if the police buy new jeeps or guns? We are giving all the information to the terrorists. We need an effective mechanism to handle terrorists. They are two decades ahead of us in aspects like financing, ammunition and willingness to die. Moreover, they are committed to their ‘cause’. We need more resolve in handling this rather than wasting our energy on trivial issues. Our city is prone to attacks, since we have revealed all details about our preparation.
—Ashoke Pandit, filmmaker and social activist
Don’t cash in on tragic memories
Even after a year, people are still feeling let down because nothing has really been done about it. With Kasab still around, false promises made by the government, compensation not paid to the victims and other various negative stories about the terror attacks have made things worse. It has become a carnival and some insensitive individuals are cashing in on it. From movies to coffee mugs, everyone is using the event for their own benefit. If people cannot do anything about it, then they shouldn’t even talk about it. Moving ahead, policemen, without arms and protection, laid down their lives for us and we need to punish the guilty and make the city safer so that none of this happens again.
Bring terror masterminds to book
Firstly we must recognise the sacrifices of those who lost their lives in attacks. Secondly we must honour the unknown heroes who contributed in rescuing others. Thirdly we must complete the trial and punish Kasab. This will send a strong message to the people, who are trying to disrupt our peaceful life. This will be a fitting tribute to the martyrs. There is a feeling that, we are still at war with an enemy, who has no face and can strike anytime. Alertness on the part of each citizen is important, but public memory is short-lived. A lot of citizens' groups were formed in the aftermath of 26-11, but so many of them have shut shop. I also feel that Nandan Nilekani's unique identity system will contribute generously to data control. We will have a unique code to identify the complete history of each individual and track movements of people better. Internal security must be tightened and professionals must be in charge of the portfolio.
—Agnelo Rajesh Athaide, entrepreneur and friend of Vijay Salaskar)
Rehab of affected must be priority
It has been one year since the terror attacks and I have seen the plight of victims very closely. They have been struggling to get back to their routine. In many cases, the sole-bread winning member of their family has died and they need some income to fulfil basic needs like education and housing. Even other Mumbaikars require a safe environment. They want an opportunity to earn and sustain their families. A common person elects leaders to take care of governance. So it is a politician’s duty to provide opportunities, infrastructure, and protection from threats. Although many things have improved, but there is need to keep going ahead. Media’s role is important because people get to know how our system is functioning.
—Kiran Manral, founder, India Helps
Middle class concerns
Why did people elect same set of rulers?
The same politicians who let us down are elected once again, while others who mismanaged the police force are given plum postings. We are equally responsible for the prime time terror show that happened last year. The media must also be responsible in reporting events. Television reporters were giving clues and planning of commando strikes, which helped the terrorists. Para-military personnel must be given a full mandate to operate during such times. Moreover, 26/11 is a serious event and it cannot be trivialised.
—Rahul Manjal, RJ
Senior cops shouldn't squabble in public
It's very common to watch people get emotional about events like bomb blasts or terror attacks. It happens when the media resurrects memories of such incidents. But no one cares during the year; people affected by the tragedy are left to fend for themselves. All over the country, people are preparing to pay a tribute to victims of terror. Security systems must be tightened and adequate protection must be given to all. Above all, the police must end the blame game that is going on and show a united face against terror.
—Sonali Khulbe, team leader
Level of vigilance has dropped once again
One year after the deadliest attack, every step taken by our politicians has been half-hearted. Police are still not using the modern weapons and arms. Even their fitness levels are not good. The government has made Force I elite squad, but I don't think it is enough for the security of people. Whatever politicians have been doing seems more out of public pressure than personal conviction. People need to cooperate with security officials instead of getting irritated. Moreover, we need to be alert, the level of vigilance has dropped.
—Rohan Kale, sales manager
Don't need tragedy to get security conscious
Memories of the terror attacks are still fresh in my mind. But I don't have such fear today. Security has improved at railway stations, malls etc. NGOs have helped a lot in awakening the people and helped them in understand their role in the political system. Media is uncovering all aspects of the investigation, this is helping people learn about what the government has done. This will convey a message to the people who are involved in terror activities, that no one can destroy the fabric of harmony and peace in India.
—Abhishek Tiwari, brand manager
Let's not forget other bomb blasts too
The attacks were tragic and shocking for the nation, but nothing seems to change. Even after a year, I think the incident isn't considered as a national issue. Debate is limited to Mumbai and its residents only. Why do we remember only 26/11 as a calamity and let the Jaipur, Surat and Delhi blasts fade away from our mind? I felt a sense of safety prior to the attacks, but today I don't feel safe in my nation. We need to protect our boundaries and insulate ourselves from turbulence. For that we will have end, regionalism and language conflicts.
Security at malls, stations is still lax
A lot of activism happened after the attacks, but I don't think it has really made a difference in public life. We still have a happy-go-lucky attitude and everybody has moved on. Even the security at different places like malls, stations is still lax. People have suggestions and views about how to beef up public security, but they are not being considered. Media has been covering the event religiously for some time, this way, the memories of the terror have been kept alive. It's disgusting that some people are even trying to cash in on it.
Gunmen killed, but city’s spirit still alive
Although I have recently come to this city, I can see how the tragedy has changed people. Youngsters are always looked upon as carefree individuals, but campaigns after the November 26 terror attacks saw a lot of participation by the youth. People have become aware of their responsibilities and willing to go a step further. What is most amazing about the city is the fact that, it didn't let terrorists kill its spirit. In the aftermath, people put aside their disputes and conflicts, this is admirable. It couldn't have happened in any city.
Slow legal system is protecting Kasab
It angers me that even after a year our legal process is still trying to prove that Kasab is a terrorist. When we have all seen footage of his terror activities, why do we need proof of his culpability? Why are we delaying his sentence? We are spending crores of rupees in protecting a person who didn't think twice before killing innocent people. It is time to give a strict sentence to all terrorists, so that acts like this cannot be repeated. All security measures in the city must be tightened; this will be a fitting tribute to the martyrs of 26/11.