After the 26/11 attack on Mumbai, this is the first major terrorist attack. While Mumbai is yet to forget the pain and suffering of the dreadful days and night of 26/11, it faced another serial blasts which happened exactly during the five years anniversary of 11th July, 2006 serial blasts which brought back memories of seven train blasts. There were three blasts across South Mumbai – Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar and Dadar (W), with Opera House facing the highest intensity. Till Thursday morning, out of 22 persons who died, 10 of them were from Opera House.
Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, the City of Dreams has been vulnerable and open to such terrorist attacks in the last two decades, reminding everyone the horrifying moments its citizens has been facing. It has been a gawker to around twenty-eight explosions and a terrorist attack. Some of the deadliest being the March 12, 1993 blasts operated by underworld don tiger Memon which killed about 257 people, where thirteen blasts were carried out at places like Bombay Stock exchange, Shiv Sena Bhavan, Sahar airport, Zaveri Bazaar, Juhu Centaur Hotel and the air India building being the
Around the year 2002-2003 Mumbai has witnessed at least 5 major blasts at regular intervals – December 2, 2002 blast outside Ghatkopar railway station killing two people; December 6, 2002 where twenty five people were injured at the food plaza of Mumbai Central railways station; January 27, 2003 blast, a crude bomb injuring thirty people outside Vile Parle station; March 12, 2003 when eleven people died after a bomb kept in a ladies’ train exploded while it was nearing Mulund Station at office hours; August 25, 2003, twin blasts killing forty five people at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar, RDX explosives being kept in parked taxis.
The last major Mumbai attack was the 26/11 siege by ten Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists, when they attacked five places in South Mumbai killing people in two five star hotels – The Taj and the Oberoi Trident and a Jewish family at Nariman Point. Almost 160 people died in these attacks which continued for three days till NSG commandos cleared the places.
After every attack, Mumbai bucks up to straighten its security. South Mumbai has faced more attacks than most part of the city, with Zaveri Bazaar being a hot spot for terrorist attacks. After each attack, a minister resigns, there goes on a blame game till someone accepts the faults of the intelligence bureau. However how much responsible are the citizens of the city for the attacks?
We find it easy to blame the government and the police who are supposed to safeguard the city from any kinds of crime. Although as the citizen of the city have we asked ourselves – Are we aware of everything that happens around us? Do we keep our eyes and ears open about each and everything around us?
Mumbai is India’s fastest moving city with the citizens not getting a minute to spare for anything that may slow their timeline of the day. From a student to an adult, everyone is busy in this city and that is why everyone is fond of this city. This is undoubtedly the City of Dreams with anything that a person wants, can do. However doesn’t this attitude of ours cost us sometimes?
This terrorist who come over to our land and carry out the plan of disrupting the city’s life obviously doesn’t carry out their whole operation from a foreign land! They have been coming over to the city, checking out the places, and planning so swiftly that no one has a clue about it. Or is it that we are too blind to realise the person sitting next to us can be a terrorist, even a small time criminal? There was an umbrella kept at Opera House on 13th July, 2011 under which the bomb was laid that killed around ten people till now and the numbers can rise? Shouldn’t we have realised that there was an umbrella lying there all by itself?
There have been blasts where bombs has been kept on a bicycle, in parked taxis, at a bus stop inside a bag and there has been terrorists moving in through our sea beaches and we not giving any importance to it. Talk about the blasts at Zaveri Bazaar, the place till now has witnessed around three major blasts including Wednesday’s blast. Shouldn’t the previous experiences have made little careful about their own place?
How much we as a citizen have cared to know about our neighbour who mysteriously keeps signing in and out of their places regularly? Or about their relatives that may seem to come and disappear all of a sudden without any notice or justification? Have we ever felt the need to act when we see someone loitering for too long at a railway platform or at any public place? It is only after investigations and something big like 26/11 happens that we come to know that the person we were chatting with at a party has turned out to be some Underworld don or a terrorist.
Yes it is the responsibility of the police to make sure that we live in a crime-free city. Yes it is the responsibility of the ministers, of the elected candidates to make sure that we don’t face anymore situations like 26/11 or 1993 blasts. We elect them so that they do their job efficiently and not give us an opportunity to blame later. However it is our responsibility also as the citizen of the city that we live in, that we were born in, that we are growing up in to make sure that we are aware of the things that is happening around, that we are aware of the people around us and the things lying around us. If we go on and ask some policeman on duty and if he doesn’t respond to it, it is also our duty to make sure that not only the suspicious thing is taken care of but also that the policeman is punished.
It is we that keep our homes safe from insects, so can’t we also try and keep our city safe from such people by being a little VIGILANT?