Could the Pulwama attack have been prevented from happening?
I believe yes. It could have been prevented; it was a massacre waiting to happen. One day or the other, we knew an attack of this scale was a possible scenario. There were attacks on our men before, and the number of such attacks had increased by 176% in the past five years. Where is the lag? We could have woken up before. We could have prevented this and can do so in future.
But posting on social media won’t do the trick. Neither will raising civilian funds or, sorry to say, doing candle marches.
These are good for showcasing India’s stand against the dastardly attacks, but not enough to prevent them. Civilians and celebrities can only do so much by raising funds and shouting slogans. After all, we are not on the enemy lines and we have no clue about the battle-ground reality.
As a common person, in layman terms, I have seen J&K burning since I could comprehend news. I was a kid when the Kargil war happened, but I could sense the gravity. It is history, religion, greed, myopia all rolled into one making it what it is today. It is the inability of the state as well as the Central government to collaborate, moulding the situation layer by layer through the years with dirt. Our highly intelligent and trained men stand no chance if the top-down approach is meek. It is also the lack of initiative by a part of local citizenry aka the stone-pelters.
We know about the situation in J&K and we know about the stone-pelters, militants hiding in the wild and even in cities. What have we done? Where are the laws enforcing strict punishments on these people? Do they even fear the government? Why not? I can’t comment on how, but I know for a fact that the government has the power to make this happen.
The Pulwama suicide bomber’s father claims he didn’t know what his son was involved in it. If the government gave protection to people who report their own family and friends, will it help? It will if laws are enforced not only on the terrorists but also on the immediate family members who fail to report before the militant is discovered.
No, the discrimination and civilian problems will not reduce with strict law-enforcement against militants, but the civilians taking law in their own hands will reduce in numbers. The hate crimes against innocent families may see a downfall.
Explosives can be made from fertilisers and other household chemicals is a common knowledge. We know they can’t be detected most of the time. But what about the cameras, checkpoints, road infrastructure and armour buses for our soldiers?
If you look at the scene in Pulwama, there are no divisions separating the roads from open grounds on the side. Cameras and constant vigilance on the routes taken by our soldiers as well the citizens is a crucial point. I’m sure the intelligent men in our system know this, but why isn’t this done?
We have organisations like Isro doing space missions, we have spent on Vande Bharat train, we have metro projects going on for a decade in major cities and all the money to spend on bullet train projects. We have a separate defence budget. Is this too hard?
Taking it easy
The best part about the civilian protests is that our government cannot continue with the easy approach towards Pakistan. I’m NOT calling for a war, nor do I have the mastery to comment on the defence strategy of India, but am I the only one who thinks we have been too easy with our violent neighbour? What was done a day later after the attacks could have been done before.
The whole world knows Jaish-e-Mohammed is hiding in Pakistan with government protection, like Osama had. The latter was crushed by the US but what about the former? The Jaish-e-Mohammed is also linked to the 2001 Parliament attacks. It has been only like 18 years now, right? Maybe after the silver jubilee we will crack them down.
On this note, we haven’t been successful in getting Lashkar-e-Taiba either who not only carried out the 2001 Parliament attack but also the 2008 Mumbai attack, and who are allegedly operating from Pakistan.
A note to the celebrities
Some of the celebrities have been very kind by raising funds and shouldering responsibilities for the families of our martyrs of Pulwama attack.
But what about the other families whose sons, fathers, brothers and husbands embraced martyrdom in not-so-big attacks? What about those who died fighting various other terrorists and militants?
I feel there is huge gap again in how we see things. Partial empathy or social pressure? Whatever it is, if you are taking the responsibility, take it fully. You cannot group these brave families based on the scale of events! Even one casualty is a casualty. A single martyr is no less a martyr.
This is true for civilian crowdfunding activities too.
The coming days are a test for not only India’s leadership, but also the citizens. We need to keep the ‘Josh High’ and the ‘Hosh’ grounded. A collective decision based on a united collaboration is called for. To do what needs to be done will not be easy, but it is necessary. Our soldiers know it the best and we are forever in their debt. India hopes that the government will not disappoint the bravehearts who embraced martyrdom or the courageous men who will do so in a heartbeat. The world is watching us and history is being made.
I wish for a better history to be made.
Originally published in: TOI Blogs, Perspicere