Fighting Against Terrorism
Around two weeks ago, I was standing at the Krishi Bhavan Central Secretariat bus stop in the late evening, waiting for the bus to go home. The bus stop is always crowded with people waiting for buses, or waiting for their friends to accompany them in the metro. Usually, there is quite a lot of security but today, I saw none. Looking around, I saw an unnoticeable man wearing dark clothes, standing in the shadows near the flowerpots who was looking out of place in the picture. He was tall, well built, stood straight (like he had military training) and his features resembled Rahul Dev (that bollywood villain). He was looking about carefully, taking in the surroundings. I just got a feeling that he was a terrorist scouting the place...
I stared back at him. His reaction astounded me. As soon as he realized that he was being watched, he panicked and decided to leave. Looking back at me, he started walking towards the metro station. Noticing the tension from his side, I followed him a couple of steps just to see what he'd do. There was a crowd at the metro station entrance, blocking his way. I was really shocked when instead of weaving through the crowd and walking down the metro steps, like a normal person, he ran down the wrong way of the metro station escalator, which was moving upwards.
I told my family and friends about this incident. I tried to call a terror hotline number mentioned in the newspaper, but it did not work. Thinking that I had scared the 'terrorist' off anyway, I got busy with routine tasks and this incident slipped out of my mind. Two days ago, while I was standing at the bus stop again, I noticed strong police presence in the area. There was a Police Gypsy Jeep and at least three tall khaki policemen armed with automatic guns. That's when I decided to write this article. Police can't be at all places at all times and it is the responsibility of citizens who are at the scene to keep an eye out and work against terrorist attacks before they can happen. Here is my advice to citizens on how to fight terrorism -
1. Wherever you are, keep an eye out for people behaving in a bizarre manner. Terrorists are people with some sort of military training, so they will usually look like a physically fit military person in plainclothes. They are quite ordinary looking and usually stand about watching their surroundings keenly, instead of waiting for a bus, dreaming, eating, walking or talking. They will not be identifiable as a person of a certain community or religion.
2. If you see such a person, you should show some reaction towards him. Stare back at him or walk up to him and ask him some sort of inane question, just to see his reaction. If he reacts negatively in a strange suspicious way, then you know what you are up against. If you see a policeman nearby, inform him/her that the person is behaving suspiciously and should be questioned.
3. Don't be a bozo like me and just give up, hoping nature will fix it. Call up the police at 100 and complain about the incident. They will take the required action. Why waste precious time waiting for 'translation and decoding of intelligence reports' to filter down to the police level, for security to increase in the area ?? If you have first hand information, share it, before it is too late. You can save hundreds of lives.
4. All citizens must be vigilant and brave enough to stand up for the truth and report it. We cannot keep saying 'It is the police department's fault or the politicians fault'. They were never at the scene of the incident and were not informed by the few who saw something suspicious. If you are at a scene where you can prevent a terrorist incident before it can happen, take action !!
5. Like my school principal used to say, don't have that 'Sab Chalta Hain' attitude. Terrorists don't care a damn about bindaas people who participate in protests, light candles and send sms's to news channels after an attack saying that 'You will not break our spirit', 'We will not be terrorized', "We will bounce back' and all that other nonsense. They are more scared of the person who stares at them while they are surveying a place and walks over and asks them questions such as 'Which bus goes to Tihar Jail?' or 'Where is the police station located?'
This is a short term measure to tackle terrorism. I will soon be writing about long term measures to tackle terrorism.Until then, keep your eyes open for suspicious characters and react immediately. It is the only way you can do your bit to tackle and stop terrorism, as it happens.