One year later! How do I feel? Betrayed, helpless, vulnerable, hopeless! Yes all these emotions are true and part of me. Nothing has changed, the Government is still moving as directionless as it has always been.
The outward calm is deceptive. We are just as angry, hurt and outraged even after one year. The most significant aspect of 26/11/2008 was that the Phantom had come alive amidst us in flesh and blood and was causing mayhem at will.
His choice of route was audacious yet predictable, since this was where he presumed was least likely to be detected and apprehended. Previously IEDs were the favored mode of attack, the political parties, twisted facts, painted them in suitable colors, shades which we were compelled to accept, since there was no counter argument that we could have made to the thesis presented.
The outrage and frustration was that our nation had been attacked in a commando style operation. Our reaction was not in keeping with the gravity of the situation. We were facing systemic shortcoming and comparing those with the large retinue of men clad in black, armed to teeth protecting an elected MP or a MLA. The Aam adami woke up to realize the false hood that he was important in the scheme of things. He did not count for much he was expendable.
The 5 star hotels are not the preserve of the middle class yet this was the class which was most vocal, enhanced sense of betrayal, inability to contribute and an extended siege added to a sense of vulnerability as also an acute awareness that terrorism had been upgraded qualitatively in terms of target selections, man power employed and the duration. If he was fortunate not be a victim this time, he had no guarantee that next time he would be equally lucky. Our previous experience of collecting body parts and ferrying the injured to hospitals for a couple of hours after every explosion, this attack did not follow the set pattern, the future became absolutely uncertain, with nothing on the horizon to occupy ourselves with, which could help us to cover our grief and helplessness.
The system is rotten to the core, disenchantment with the political parties is a fact, the change can only come about, if and when we attack the fiefdoms that have been carved out across the country, urban areas do not and cannot dent the fortunes of the political parties enough to unseat them from power, since the larger share of seats are in the rural areas.
Country with the 3rd largest Army in the world, has been made to surrender its right to retaliate and exact a price for the attack on its sovereignty. The space between war at one end and composite dialogue at the opposite end of the spectrum, offers many other options which have not been explored leave alone being implemented. The overeager and prompt acceptance of the terrorist being “Non State Actors” flies in the face of logic.
The confused state of the government in the immediate aftermath of the attack did nothing to reassure the population of this country. If it was all options open one moment, the next was war is not an option and yet in the following breath we were back to the former.
A nation of vast resource and potential, which has pretensions of marching towards a global power Status, is being perceived as a pygmy state by the neighbors and the world at large.
No purposeful, focused investigation was done, lest it bring forth awkward questions, leading to adverse electoral results in the General Elections which were due in May 2009.
Hurried closer was need of the hour, which was accomplished by projecting the capture of 1 terrorist alive in the course of the attack. This became the symbol of a strong resolute government at the centre, sufficient to ensure victory in the Elections. All lacunae were papered over, having secured the mandate from the people this was a convenient stick to beat anyone and everyone who dared to questioned the failures and the inept handling of the crisis on 26/11/2008.
Nothing has changed on the ground, accountability is still missing! The cry for justice is getting louder by the day. Due heed should be paid to this cry, the society needs it urgently. The framers of laws must also be seen to be within the ambit of the same laws.