I am writing this column under the shadow of the most horrendous massacre that we have seen or heard of in recent times. Every child is a child of God, whichever country, whichever religion, whichever part of the world. Whoever these terrorists are, I can understand they are trying to terrorise and frighten people, which also, done randomly has no meaning. However its inexcusable that they kill hundreds of children who have absolutely no enmity with them and neither they with the children. Who are these people and what is their aim in doing this? One can only say that one lives and learns. The wisest of people cannot answer this question. Very funny — Hafiz Saeed and Pervez Musharraf I hear today are blaming India for this. How? There are organisations that have taken responsibility. Where does India come in? I think it is their pet scheme to put every problem at the door of India. Our heart, our feelings go to the people of the bereaved families. As they say, the smallest coffin is the heaviest to pick. When children die, what happens to the parents cannot be described. Each citizen of India should feel sympathy for those families instead of talking India-Pakistan, which is not relevant in this case. Where do we go from here? The Indian security agencies, especially the Cabinet Committee on Security. should meet and we should take tough steps internally to protect our country. There are sleeper cells of the ISI and the Indian Mujahideen operating from almost all cities in India, big and small. What are we doing? I can talk of Mumbai, I can talk of Maharashtra, the police here — I am talking of two years ago — the police here informally will tell you that we have information of sleeper cells but we are unable to act because of not getting political clearance. Now what kind of rubbish is this, the police is being paid for doing a job. If they find crime happening they should take action, they don’t need political clearance. The Cabinet Committee on Security should meet and create empowered cells in every place to clear out these sleeper cells. It can’t be done overnight, it may take a year, two years, five years, but the work should begin in right earnest. If we have these so called sleeper cells, which means terrorists lying low and waiting for a signal from across the border, we are only playing with fire. What our individual Chief Ministers think or do, one cannot say. Many of them were reported to have links across the border or in Dubai, which is bad enough. But we can’t afford such a massacre or such a tragedy to happen in India. Fortunately till now we have been saved this kind of terrorism except the 26/11 incident in Mumbai where random people were killed. I can understand the statements of the Home Minister, the Prime Minister — the Prime Minister rang Nawaz Sharif to condole him, all that is okay but on the ground unless we take tough measures, unfortunately people will label us as a soft state and no country can protect itself if the impression goes around that it is a soft state.
Not connected with this but the same thing applies to the rape cases. Rapes happen all over the world, rape is a crime like any other crime. The problem here is the public perception is the rapist will get away, which is wrong. These crimes should be handled with alacrity. The suspect or the guilty person should get exemplary punishment to the knowledge of the public. Then some sort of fear, some sort of confidence in the innocent people and some sort of fear in the miscreants will be created. Unfortunately all this doesn’t happen, our system is loose. Soft crimes, police is always ready to take action. They will go and raid a bar in suburban Mumbai, where drugs are being consumed, round up 30 people who are all scions of big families or rich people. So the police also makes some money out of it and nothing comes out of it. I don’t think the police should waste its time on these soft crimes. If rich people want to consume drugs and harm themselves, so be it. It is their parents job to look after them, public money need not be wasted on them. Let us concentrate on saving the girl child, the teenage girl, the innocent people from terrorists, that is where the police are required.
I don’t know how much arms and ammunition the police has but I know policemen who have a revolver but they don’t use it, because it takes some trouble to pull the trigger. It takes no trouble to raid a bar and threaten a rich man’s son and extract money from him. The police has become soft. Police is a state subject but Rajnath Singh should call a meeting of all Home Ministers, Home Secretaries and seriously address this problem that if you want to raise the salary of policemen or give them insurance protection because you are putting their lives in danger, let us do it. But we should take strong actions to make our police force lean and strong and create confidence in the common man in this country that we are not unprotected. The best is being done for them.