A plethora of events today will mark eight years since the 26/11 terror attacks, which held Mumbai to ransom for three days. The terror strike birthed the phrase ‘Mumbai-style attacks’, which is now used worldwide to describe attacks on public places and/or prolonged hostage situations. Over last few years, countless ‘Mumbai-style attacks’ have been foiled by security agencies around the globe. What it teaches us is that terror still looms large in our world and all security measures incorporated post the 26/11 attacks are not alarmist, they are necessary. However, the need of the hour is to ensure these measures are still valid and working.
The layman can respond to threats in their own small ways. Obey security instructions when using public transport. Do not touch bags or parcels that may be lying unattended.
However, be a realist, not an alarmist. If you perceive a real threat from something or someone, report it. Do not be cynical and brush it off as nothing thinking you might be dragged into an unnecessary rigmarole. Security experts still accede that despite all the technology in the world, the most vital cog in the system to combat terror is the cop on the streets, the constables, who may overhear or spot something that can spiral into a crisis.
In the same way, the common man can become the city’s guardian by being vigilant at all times. Educate yourself about things to watch out for to avoid tragedies. Avoid escalating tension through alarmist social media posts.
Cooperate with security personnel at public places.
Ultimately, metal detectors and machine guns don’t protect us from terror — our alertness and preparedness do. Let us pay homage to all those who died in the 26/11 attacks by pledging to build and ensure a safer society in years to come.