Bangalore blasts and Delhi Rape: What Boston can teach us

IBNLive Blog - April 20, 2013

The images flashing over television screens across the world have been riveting to put it mildly. The entire American establishment was on a mission to hunt down the perpetrators of the Boston attack; the entire city of Boston was grounded to a halt till the task was completed. The operation was swift and ruthless. A couple of days before, a similar act of terror occurred on the streets of Bangalore, the pin up city of the tech world in India. Another instance of the crime was the rape of the 5 year old in Delhi. So how was the response in these situations? What are some things we could learn from the Boston episode?

Rapid Response:
Within hours of the Boston incident, the area was cordoned off completely and the entire area was brought under the control of the investigators. And within 24 hours, the video footage around the area was seized and the sketches of the suspects were released. The rapid reaction by the law enforcement agencies showed their readiness to handle such situations and their level of professionalism in handling the entire case. This, in a country, which has not witnessed a single terror attack since 9/11. In India, on the contrary, we have witnessed dozens of terror strikes over the years. How has our response mechanism been? While I agree it is not fair to compare the two countries considering the demographic challenges, it is also important to note how far behind we are in our response systems. An example would be the Bangalore blast which took place a couple of days ago, what has been the response on that? Are the perpetrators identified? Has there been a sense of urgency that an attack deserves?

This brings me to my second point. The US President Barack Obama addressed his people directly hours after the attack and delivered a touching speech at the memorial service a day later. He was at the forefront and made sure that the world got the message clear; America was going to hunt them down come what may. To them, though the casualty down was 3 people, it was still an attack on the American state. To us, NOTHING, seems to be an attack on the state. Whether it is 26/11 or the attack on the Parliament or the plethora of terror attacks across the country is treated as a normal occurrence. To us, it seems, the "small" terror attacks are merely a matter of fact and the response has been the same all the time. The leadership that the Americans exhibited shows how much the country values lives and more importantly, shows how one needs to send a strong message across. Isn't it true that the terrorists will think twice because of this strong response unlike the meek response that we often provide?

Police reform:
Another aspect of the American response has been the professionalism with which the police had reacted during this manhunt. They were astute, sharp and most importantly sensitive in handling this entire scenario. Slightly moving off tangent, lets shift towards our response to the rape incidents especially the 5 year old girl on April 19th. The police response to this was to put it bluntly barbaric and grossly insensitive. Do you think an educated and reform police establishment would have responded in such a way? Be it a terror attack or an attack on the women in the country, shouldn't the police deal the matter with deep care and with a level of sensitivity that the particular case demands?

National pride:
Despite our over the top exertions within the household, we care much less about the nation being attacked on the outside. In the US, any attack on the state seems to evoke a sharp reaction with the electorate demanding action. While our concerns are often within closed doors, we should evolve to the extent of demanding answers from the elected officials. Legislators should be held accountable for gross negligence if they do not act on such terror attacks or rape attacks with strong actionable items. Mere tokenism should be thrown out, it should be replaced by concrete action, an action that sends shivers through the prospective perpetrators of crime in the country

All in all, the Boston episode has numerous lessons for us to learn especially in the context of terror attacks and the crime related incidents such as rape in the country.

Till such a strong message, the culprits will flourish and we will be a soft and toothless state.

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