Terror tourism hits Pune

Aug 03, 2012, 07:23 IST | Priyankka Deshpande

Students and curious residents flock to Jangli Maharaj Road to get photographed at blast sites, upload their pictures on networking sites

Though a certain level of fear and awe prevailed in the city after four low-intensity blasts went off at different spots on Jangli Maharaj Road on Wednesday evening, the area took on the atmosphere of a ‘Terror Tourism’ hub the next morning.

Smile please: A man posing outside McDonald’s, a spot where one of the blasts took place on Wednesday evening. Curious youngsters and citizens alike made a beeline for the area and were seen clicking pictures in front of the blast-affected spots from early in the morning

Curious youngsters and citizens alike made a beeline for the area and were seen clicking pictures in front of the blast-affected spots from early in the morning. Many of these individuals later uploaded scores of photographs, of themselves posing at these locations, on social networking sites.
Students from surrounding colleges skipped lectures and arrived at the spots in droves and were seen enjoying photo sessions. The camera-happy crowds created chaos and contributed to traffic jams on Jangli Maharaj Road.

The situation was similar just after the blasts took place on Wednesday evening, as citizens clamoured to click pictures of the spots and members of the bomb disposal squad in action. While the seemingly excited crowds turned the area into a carnival of sorts, ex-service men in the area called their gleeful antics an act of immaturity, which was something they had not expected from the younger generation.

One individual from among a group of students from Modern College approached this reporter and asked to be directed to another blast location. When asked what they were doing out of college during class hours, one student said, “We came here to take pictures of the spots. We couldn’t make it on the day of the blasts, therefore came today to take pictures, which we will share on social networking sites.”

Some enthusiastic Puneites turned up to capture photographs of politicians visiting the spots. One visitor said that he had already visited the Balgandharva Auditorium, which was the first spot visited by BJP and Shiv Sena leaders. “After visiting the auditorium, I came to McDonald’s and found the same leaders giving same bytes to the media. I will now be going to another spot to see whether I can find any other leader so that I can add his picture to my collection,” said the visitor.

A group of female students from Cummins College travelled all the way from Kothrud to click pictures and see who else was there. “We came here to see the spots and the VIPs who are visiting,” said a beaming student from the group.

Constable Vijay Bodakhe, who was one of the members of a small contingent on bandobast duty at site, said that since morning he was at his wits end trying to control the unruly visitors. “If one person stands in the middle of the road to see the spot, 10 others follow and this has been creating traffic snarls,” Bodakhe said.

Air Marshall (retd) Bhushan Gokhale said that the concept of ‘Terror Tourism’ has begun across the country since 26/11. He added that people visiting the blast sites are devoid of sentiment towards relatives of those injured and their immaturity reflects in their acts.

“The youngsters should have come forward to condemn the attack and not to turn the blast sites into picnic spots,” Gokhale said.

Major General (Retd) Shashikant Pitre said that the youngsters lacked civic sense. “These are acts of immaturity and was not expected from the youngsters. On the one hand some are enthusiastic about things like anti-corruption movements, while on the other some stoop to such acts,” Pitre said. 

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