To say that it has been a blood-soaked Ramadan may be stating the obvious, but in just a few days, there has been a conveyor belt of terror attacks. The world has seen the Orlando massacre, followed by terror tearing the heart out of Istanbul. Then, came Baghdad, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, everywhere stories steeped in blood and gore and the one acronym that runs like a common thread through it all — ISIS.
This paper yesterday carried a front-page report on investigative agencies putting Mumbai on high alert after coming upon ‘chatter’ that terrorists are plotting to destroy road and rail bridges connecting the island city to mainland India. Earlier, one may have scoffed at such reports, or termed them alarmist. It is evident now that the threat is no longer a figment of overripe imagination. It is real, it is true and the ISIS, ISIL or Daesh — call it what you will — is at our doorsteps.
The ordinary citizen can do nothing but become more co-operative and realise that everybody has a stake in a safer city. To constantly complain of high handedness and human rights being taken away when top investigations and interrogations are on, is counter productive. On our own, let’s not shirk security checks in public buildings. We see people being extremely rude to security staff, who themselves are, at times, badly trained or quite clueless as to what they are looking for. That though, is one part of the problem.
Don’t brush off warnings in trains and buses about unattended baggage or parcels with the assumption that terror attacks will never happen around you. Even after announcements to create awareness, one sees people touching unattended objects. Be attentive during anti-terror drills, show patience if you are forced to wait while police or authorities undergo such drills.
It is small measures like these that make up the bigger battle against terror. Ask any terrorism expert, he will say the first break for agencies often comes from the humble police on the ground. Let the first safeguard be an alert, co-operative citizen.