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“VIPs rushed to the spot”. Why ? August 30, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in india, rant.
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Sagarika Ghose hits the nail on the head.

More than 40 died in the twin blasts at Hyderabad last week, many of them students. What did the Hyderabad police do after the blasts? Did they immediately cordon off Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat Bhandar and seal the bomb blast site? No. Did they launch a methodical investigation to track down the culprits? No. What happened instead? The bomb blast site became a tourist spot for visiting VIPs, bystanders and the media. VIPs from Y.S.R. Reddy to Jana Reddy to L.K. Advani tripped over bits of crucial forensic evidence, roaring, ‘Bring back Pota’ or ‘the HuJI is to blame!” A dog was seen sniffing at blood. Camerapersons were seen dashing about. Is this not just a little bit ridiculous?

When the London terror threat occurred this year, what did we see? Did we see the British Prime Minister grandstanding at the bomb blast site screaming out a political speech about how Pakistan has hatched the plot? What’s the first thing we see about bomb blast sites in London and New York? We see yellow police tape cordoning off the evidence. Media and VIPs are strictly forbidden. The police go about methodically tracking evidence. By contrast, India has lost the highest number of lives to terrorism (after Iraq); over 3,000 Indians have died since 2004 in terrorist attacks and India’s police are still fire-fighting on terrorism.

I have wondered too about how almost every report of bomb blasts has a sentence that goes – “senior officials including certain ministers, MPs and MLAs have rushed to the spot”. Why ?  What will they accomplish at all ? Is it to assure the general public that they really care ? Are  bystanders more reassured when they see investigating teams, police and the police dogs or somehow is the ungainly sight of ignorant, indifferent politicians more becalming ?

I think its got as much to do with our own attitude as that of the politicians. Haven’t we heard ourselves say – “Mr. XXX never came to visit the site when relief work was going on. How dare he now come and ask for votes ?  “

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