Sorry, the after effects of moving to Arnie's California! Looks like ages ago since I last blogged. Lot of personal and bloggable news events have breezed past me during this period. Anyway now that I'm settled in my new job and my next weekend trip is a fortnight away, its time I put something in here.
As we celebrated independence day with the customary meaningless speech by the prime minister and my birthday with the customary fanfare :), there was lot of activity on the security (or the lack of it) front. Rival victory claims by Hezbolloh and Israel, an LTTE attempt on Pakistani Ambassador and the London air attack extravaganza. (I lost some toiletries to LA airport security because of the last one, thank you!)
Back home in India, we had lots more in store for what is already a precarious security situation. Yet another offer of olive branch to ULFA (we'll regret this later), a bizarre security alert from US on our I-day (american news programs on Terror are as hilarious as Seinfeld these days!), LeT informers within the Army and that almost forgotten aftermath of the Mumbai blast.
Last year I had criticized Manmohan Singh for his stupid "Not one of our Muslims is with Al-Quaeda' statement and drawn attention to SIMI. Alas SIMI is still alive and kicking. And what a kick it was in Mumbai! Today Indians are more at risk from ourselves than the Jehadis Pakistan is apparently training there. But if you think our politicians are debating all these in Parliament, you got it wrong. They have far more serious issues like a lousy book and a noisy speaker!
So lets do a reality check on security ourselves. For a start why is Madhani still getting preferential treatment in a Coimbatore Jail? Will it not help if India had fenced borders with Nepal and Bangladesh? (Aurangabad SIMI activists went to camps across the eastern border). Why are we not serious about the difficulties faced by Muslims to rent houses in Mumbai? Is it a coincidence that Muslim Ghettos like Dongri (Mumbai'93, Dawood) and Ukkadam (Coimbatore, Al Umma) are breeding grounds for Terrorists.
Will it be too difficult to make it mandatory for house owners to have copies of photo-ids of their tenants? Why should not central government handle issuance of driving licenses and vehicle permits? Considering that terrorists invariably carjack or steel vehicles used for their attacks, should we not provide policemen with easy access to a database of stolen vehicles? Ofcourse obtaining photo-ids like DL, passport and PAN card is probably easier for terrorists than us!
Why aren't we taking the ridiculously easy step of having photos on Debit/Credit cards mandatory? Will it be too difficult to order phone companies to photo-id every customer they give a sim card? Will it be difficult to order CCTVs at all internet cafe's and ATMs? hmm...more questions than answers. It is all too easy to blame Pakistan for everything and do nothing to have atleast a semblance of anti-terror infrastructure. The need of the hour is hot pursuit to a nearby slum and not across the LOC.
ps. is this white background anywhere close to resembling vi on which I'm supposed to be coding right now?!