We at NAPM unequivocally condemn with shock and deep anguish the brazen and brutal terror attacks in Mumbai that have claimed over 250 lives, and injured about 300 people besides creating mayhem at CST, the lifeline of ordinary toiling Mumbaikar; the Hotel Taj, Oberoi Trident, Nariman House and other places where people were trapped, tortured and killed over 3 days.
We pay homage to all the people who lost their life and limb in this dastardly attack, including all those invisible ordinary Mumbaikars from different states whose death at CST will never make headlines and many of whose dead bodies, their beloved families will never see again, thanks to a callous administration that demanded thousands of rupees for their bodies to be sent back. Our heart goes out to the kith and kin of every person affected by this gruesome crime in this poignant moment.
We salute the selfless police officials, courageous and humane National Security Guards and all commandoes and Marcos who staked their lives until the last person was rescued. The state would do well by providing them appropriate working conditions and timely paraphernalia, instead of just paying posthumous homage. We also underline with fullest appreciation the public spirited compassion of the people who in their own way were part of the brave effort to protect life at extreme personal risk and amidst incalculable trauma, some even losing their lives.
We strongly feel that the Government should take this incident as the final lesson in addressing all the faultlines in its security administration and intelligence failure. Instead of indulging in a wild goose chase and persecuting innocent persons, especially youth from selected communities, buckling under political vested interests and exhausting limited resources, the police and intelligence department must take serious and solid action in all such cases with strict adherence to the Constitution. Government servants who err in their duty, howsoever high they might be, must be held accountable. The Government must also seriously begin to initiate the process of pro-people police reforms and delink the police department from political pressure.
Head-on attacks of such a scale are unprecedented and in a way a consequence of corrupt, sectarian and vicious electoral party politics, demonstrating the crumbling governance and weakening of democracy. It is high time that we, as a nation, reflect on and press for radical and holistic electoral reforms, which will ensure that people don’t occupy positions of power through undemocratic, corrupt and familial means. The Reforms should explicitly provide for the Right to Recall any legislator and parliamentarian, who fails to safeguard the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people.
We also fervently appeal to the general public not to succumb to the misconception that draconian laws are panacea to terrorism. More terror laws do not increase security. The country has enough laws to tackle terror. What is required is proper and fair implementation and better coordination between different state agencies.
We also call upon all peace loving people from India and our neighbour state Pakistan to press upon the two Governments to have a no-nonsense approach towards restoring peace in the South Asian region. The peace process, including dialogue and trade between India and Pakistan should continue, notwithstanding such incidents aimed at disrupting progress in mutual harmony. Peace-building efforts must be genuinely taken forward beyond rhetoric and translate into serious action.
Let all our actions lead towards healing and mitigation of all kinds of hate, mistrust, parochial regionalism and communal mudslinging.
Sandeep Pandey D. Gabriele P. Chennaiah Aruna Roy
Mukta Srivastava Medha Patkar Sanjay M.G. Anand Mazgaonkar