Just another brain-dead techie with views on everything under the sun!

Saturday, September 13, 2003

"Cry wolf"... or "Better safe than sorry!" ??

Was there really some specific intelligence information (about possible terrorist strikes in Mumbai) that the authorities in Mumbai received on the eve of the second 9-11 anniversary? or was Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal merely shooting off his mouth, as is his wont?!

We may never know for sure.

Earlier, Bhujbal had gone public with claims that he had received specific information that terrorists were about to strike key installations in Mumbai on 11th September. As a result, there was an unprecedented level of high-alert in the city. The "key installations" in question were put under round the clock vigil by the policemen and people were tense.

Immediately after Bhujbal gave these statements, everyone from senior police offcials to people in the home ministry were up in arms and refuted the presence of any such intelligence information. Bhujbal's deputy, Rajendra Darda, even went to the extent of publicly contradicting Bhujbal by saying, "There is no threat in the wake of 9/11. There is no information either. But our police are always vigilant.". Even top police officials, past and present, criticized Bhujbal for shooting his mouth off in public.

9-11 passed without incident. There were no "incidents". Was it thanks to the police bandobast or was it due to the alert sounded by Bhujbal? Well, Bhujbal, not one to miss a trick, publicly declared that there were no untoward incidents because 'the terrorists changed their plan.'

By the way, one of the "key installations" in the list was supposed to be the famous Siddhivinayak Temple (which is right next to my house btw). Since early morning on 9-11, the police had cordoned off the access road to the temple and the traffic was diverted. No one was allowed to even park a vehicle on the cordoned-off stretch of road. Policemen were patrolling the area in numbers. They had set up sandbag-bunkers on all sides of the temple with arms and ammunition stacked for any eventuality. The whole area around my building resembled a war-zone. There was no way to approach the temple without going through at least one or two police-lines. It was an impressive show of might and resolve by the police.

The road is still cordoned off and the police presence is still very much evident around the temple. I dunno how long will the police disallow vehicles from plying along that important stretch of road.


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Sameer/Male/27. Hails from India/Maharashtra/Mumbai/Prabhadevi, speaks Marathi, English and Hindi. Spends 60% of daytime online. Uses a Faster (1M+) connection. And likes Reading/Computers.