Privatisation of Security
– by Saumitra Pant
One of the most conspicuous fallouts of the Mumbai terror attacks is this new phenomenon of Privatization of Security. But before we get down to discussing the concept, let’s understand the background from which it arose in the first place. Our security personnel can best be described as ‘Fat, unfit and lacking in teeth’. It’s deplorable, but true. Mr. Hemant Karkare, head of the anti-terror squad succumbed to the bullets of the perpetrators, because his bullet proof jacket, among other things, was as porous as plaster, and allowed bullets in like they were esteemed guests of the state. His death stands as a glaring reminder of the failure of our system, and of us as a nation.
The security personnel in the Chatrappatti Shivaji Terminal were equipped with rifles from the First World War. They had their .303 rifles to combat the terrorists with sophisticated weapons like AK-47’s. It was like watching Harry Potter trying to fight a Basilisk with Mrs. Weasley’s hair dryer. Amusing as it may sound, it is both grotesque and horrifying, and serves as a very real eye opener to us.
Now, keeping these facts under consideration, the rich and super rich do not like to depend on our police forces to defend us, and I don’t blame these people. I mean, what good is a policeman with a weapon, which was made when my great grandfather was conceived, against these Jehadi forces who don’t hesitate even for an instant before blowing up buildings, cars and even themselves. Privatization of security is a very real concern and it could have very serious implications if not redressed effectively through appropriate action. Try picturing people carrying live and loaded firearms with them for protection. The very thought of having millions of people with loaded weapons reminds me of the worst excesses of the Fascist era. Tempers are running short, and tolerance lower, which could precipitate into an extremely volatile situation on the ground.
Privatization of security is scary because of the scale at which it is being considered. The average citizen in the metros, who does not take any more than a passing interest in politics and elections, has realized that things cannot be allowed to carry on as they are, and (s)he must do something about it. But is this how we ensure our safety? Aren’t there better ways of ensuring that we have efficient law enforcement agencies that can restore some of our lost confidence in the system? Public anger has degenerated to a point where words have become devoid of meaning, and government assurances pass the people as the idle wind. Perhaps its time that our system was made more responsible to the people, and the corruption and rot was dealt with effectively by independent bodies which are both unbiased and non partisan.
People are thinking in micro terms, and the common fallacy of ideas is that it doesn’t have the same effect in macro terms. Common citizens with firearms pose a threat to our law and order situation. We need leaders like Barack Obama who are such fountainheads of progress that they are able to make people see the light, even when none exists. Public opinion needs to be moulded, and moulded fast. The pace at which the situation is decaying from bad to worse is alarming, and the Government itself finds itself confounded as to how to deal with the scourge of terrorism and eradicate it from its roots. Blame games among political parties aren’t helping either, in fact they are adding fuel to the whole concept of Privatization of Security. People are tired of the same old people doing the same old things over and over again. There seems to be no direct or transparent action on the ground.
Privatization of security has another great fallout. The whole concept would be playing into the hands of the terrorists who want to disrupt normal life and create terror and panic among the masses. And we are helping them in their cause without even realizing that what we think is meant to serve as protection, is just serving as a greater motivation to the terrorists who have wanted this in the first place. I, as a citizen of my country would like to implore the people to bury their weapons, and take steps to ensure that our security personnel do their jobs, and we should not do their job for them. We need to get involved in public life and administration to bring about a change. The system will change only when we get involved in it, and the time has come to get involved. Weapons are not the solution, but action is. We need to act fast, and in the right way to combat these forces. We need to think micro, and act macro, if we want a lasting change for the better. I hope people realize this before they take any steps which will jeopardize them as individuals and us as a nation.