mid-day editorial: City's coastal security is in troubled waters
A front-page report in this paper yesterday, about a sea-faring Russian couple caught at the Gateway of India after they sailed into the country without requisite clearance, exposed chinks in the coastal security's armor, despite numerous promises and protestations about making Mumbai safer post the 26/11 terror attacks.
The Russians, who arrived on a yacht, sent security agencies into a tizzy on April 9 after they entered Indian waters and dropped anchor barely 500 metres from the seashore, without the necessary permissions.
Local fishermen were vigilant and alerted the Colaba police, after which the alarmed officials put the machinery into action, calling in the couple for questioning. The Russian Consulate said they had a clean record and were only out for an adventure.
We must remember that the 26/11 attackers came by sea, so it is even more alarming that after the attack, the couple actually passed through a multi-tier security apparatus without raising any red flags, only to arouse the suspicions of local fishermen.
The 26/11 attack has become the blueprint of terror attacks all over the world. Today, it is common to read about 'Mumbai-style attacks', when a terror attack occurs with a siege like situation. We read that during the Bangladesh terror attack last year too, and it is a label and comparison to be ashamed of.
The 26/11 attacks showed us lapses at every level. From the arrival of the killer boat in Mumbai, to the delay in response by the government, it was botched up, but it did let India know that it is a huge target, and has been sucked into the vortex of global terrorism. If an ordinary couple could sail through the various tiers of security, one can imagine how easy this would be for a well-planned, organized terrorist outfit. This lapse calls for an immediate investigation and action.