5 yrs after 26/11, business as usual

Mumbai :  Five years after 26/11, the city police is still waiting for a CCTV surveillance system, bullet-proof jackets, proper patrol boats and independent bomb squads for its railway police. All this after, P Chidambaram, then home minister, promised that there would be no business as usual this time.

5 yrs after 26/11, business as usual

Something as simple as toll booth cameras to capture the number plate and the faces of those in the front seat of a vehicle is not in place.

 There is a coastal security wing in the state police but the boats they have are woefully inadequate. For instance, there is no urinal in them. A constable urinating in the sea got thrown off one such boat and the others had a tough time fishing him out.

The amphibious boats purchased by the Mumbai police are resting on their backs. The police have yet to come up with a proper scheme to recruit youngsters from the fishing community to patrol the coast.

Although the city has got Force One on the lines of the NSG, it has yet to be tested. The only time it came out was when Mantralaya was on fire.

It is now mandatory to get a police clearance for tenants but the local intelligence gathered by the cops is pathetic. For instance, they completely missed the mood of the August 2012 rally at Azad Maidan. The same police then made the absurd allegation that the women’s wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind was mentoring women suicide bombers.  The so-called armoured vehicle seen at important places has no air-conditioning and the constables manning it prefer to park it and stand outside it.

The nakabandis conducted by the police lack the element of surprise and only end up creating traffic jams.

 One thing though that the city police has vastly improved is its control room. It has also created dedicated channels for its top brass to communicate with each other. When the 26/11 attack began, the cops thought it was gangland firing. Later that night, Sadanand Date, now the joint commissioner (law and order), could not get across to the control room when he and his team were battling the two terrorists in Cama Hospital. However, the cyber cell of the Mumbai police is still languishing in the Stone Age.

Finally, the two things that assure citizens are that henceforth handlers of terrorists will not get the benefit of live TV coverage and that the Mumbai cops have perfected the mall drill.

Anil Singh

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