The heart of the country is bleeding again. A city is confronted with the menace of terror and once again the common man has become the guinea pig for fiends, driven by an all consuming haltered, whose motives are more sinister than the those of the devil.

A city that had recently recovered from the July 2006 train attacks and had just stabilized finds itself stumbling once again.

CST rail terminus, Taj Hotel, Trident, Nariman house, Cama Hospital, GT Hospital, Metro Adlabs, Oberoi Mazgaon dockyards witnessed the brutal massacre of hundreds of unsuspecting innocents, many breathed their last, quietly succumbing to death in the bedlam of gunfire and explosions.

The terrorists have successfully left wounds which will run deep, scarred thousands, left hundreds to grieve the loss of their near and dear ones. And there seems to be no end to this menace.

The past few years have seen an unprecedented surge in the number of terror strikes on the Indian soil. It is not just people of a particular religion who have been targeted; Muslims have suffered as much as people of other religions in these attacks. No religion advocates the killing of innocents to achieve their goal. Instead of typecasting the terrorists to be people of a particular faith, we must realise that they are radicals who have twisted and contrived the teachings of their religions to suit their ruthless and unjustified acts.

In the past few years, India has been witness to a series of terror attacks. An attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001, hijacking of Indian Airlines 814 to Afghanistan in 1999, terrorist attacks in Jaipur in May 2008, Hyderabad in August 2007, Mumbai in July 2006, Varanasi in March 2006, Bangalore in December 2005, Delhi in October 2005 and Ayodhya in July 2005, attack on the Indian Embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul – a lot of blood has been shed but India still lacks a proper disaster control mechanism and expertise to deal with the terror threat. Clearly, India has not learnt from its past mistakes. Why must we always wait for a casualty to happen and then open our eyes? All other cities are put on red alert after the terrorists have successfully wreaked one. Why are the authorities not vigilant all year round? If the terrorists can plan out their attacks so meticulously, why can’t India have a proper system to address the issue of terrorism? India does not lack the funds or the expertise needed to have a proper body that could tackle this problem head on; what the country lacks are administrators who are willing to go that extra mile and work to counter the problem. The VIPs are provided with the best security cover, and the civilians are left to fend for themselves.

It is time India took a tough stand when it comes to dealing with terrorists. History is witness to the fact that India has acted like a coward on many occasions and buckled under pressure from the militants.

Back in January 2000, the Kandahar hijacking saw our then foreign minister accompany three jailed Kahsmiri extremists and barter them for the people being held hostage. Releasing potentially dangerous men to save the lives of a few was considered justified. Could the government not contemplate that the terrorists they are setting free could one day mobilize enough forces to kill thousands of innocents? Not just that, when the plane had landed in Amritsar for refueling, the authorities completely failed to immobilize it. India lacked tactical expertise back then and the sad part is it hasn’t improved much over the years.

Such acts portray India as an extremely vulnerable target to these blood thirsty fiends and the terrorists are taking full advantage of it.

The terrorists who are holding Mumbai at ransom are well equipped with the beat assault weapons like AK-47s,machine guns, grenades etc.The question one must ask is how these people could smuggle the arms in the country with arousing any suspicion. This brings to light the fact that the Indian borders are very vulnerable. The authorities are aware of the fact that the borders India shares with Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, China are the preferred routes of terrorists and arm smuggling in our country. Steps must be taken to make security at the borders foolproof. They must also ensure that that Indian coastline cannot be pilferage. A country with a million tax payers has enough funds and manpower to ensure that its borders are properly sealed and such potentially dangerous and high technology weapons are not smuggled in.

Every time a terror attack happens, all the leaders condemn it and vow to never let it happen again. For a few days the leaders are fully charged; they hold numerous conferences and the police stays on high alert. But after a few days, all this is relegated to the archives of history and the promises of action are forgotten till another terror strike incapacitates the nation.

So many terror attacks have happened in the past but hardly any culprits have been caught. The people of India have no other option but to be disillusioned with their leaders and police force. Not just that, the politicians are adept at using the terror strikes to defame the other party. Pointing figures and mudslinging is prioritized over getting together and taking action. The grave events in Mumbai have been turned into political propaganda by the opposition. It mars the immense gravity of the present situation.

It is time India took a tough stand on terrorism or else the nation will continue to bleed and burn.

Apurva Joshi

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