Posted by: senthil4u | December 1, 2008

Tribute to our nation

Three police officers, including chief of ATS Hemant Karkare, encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and additional commissioner Ashok Kamte  succumbed to their injuries in Wednesday’s terror attack.

Hemant Karkare, a 1982 batch IPS officer, had returned to his state cadre after a seven-year tenure with the Research and Analysis Wing, Indian external intelligence agency, in Austria. His death is likely to affect the probe into the Malegaon blast. Hemant Karkare, Maharashta Police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad chief, was among the 11 police officials who were killed while fighting terrorists in Mumbai on Thursday. Karkare, 54, was killed in a shootout with terrorists at the Taj Intercontinental Hotel where terrorists have taken at least 15 people hostage.

Vijay Salaskar, officer of the 1983 batch, had till recently killed around 75 dreaded criminals in police encounters. After being out of the spotlight for quite sometime, the encounter specialist was given the plum posting of heading the anti-extortion wing of the crime branch.

Ashok Kamte was the DCP, Zone 1, in Mumbai and was also the key officer in state police. He had also served as the commissioner of Solapur and was always known to be in the thick of action.

Lets Salute these real life heroes, even though they are not alive….


  1. Hermant Karkare is a hero whose name will never, ever be forgotten.
    His heroism will resonate in my soul till the day I die.
    RIP Hermant. You are a true hero.

  2. An unprecedented preview of what “being terrorized” means has come and gone in the last few days of the previous month. Now that everything had ended, the clamor for change in the manner in which Indians are protected in their home country will rise from among the masses. This will be galvanized by the members of the fourth estate who trying to become a part of the solution fail to realize that they are actually part of the problem. Why has India been a frequent victim of terror attacks? The answer lies among us citizens who have believed in a divisive vision of our nation segregating ourselves into groups on the basis of religion, caste, creed, state, social status, etc. These divisions were not invented by the politicians. These fragmentations in our society have always existed within us and the political establishment seeing advantage in exploiting our mistrust of each other have only caused these divisions to accentuate in their reach and scope. For things to change, we have to look within us for answers as to why a city that the vast majority of Indians call cosmopolitan is an easy prey to those who wish to sow the seeds of dissension in our ranks. It is true that we as Indians are diverse but merely speaking of unity in diversity is not sometimes enough. India needs to look at creating an environment where nefarious elements are unable to create sympathy within a segment of its populace whether these be Hindus or Muslims or Christians or the rich or the poor, etc. However, as to when the current status quo will be significantly modified to enable a safe and secure environment for us and our children to survive in, is a question that will await an answer till we as a polity open our eyes to the truth.

    It is easy to point fingers and pass the buck in events that invite immediate scrutiny from the masses as a result of the proliferation of the media which takes very easily to the role of being the judge, jury and the executioner. It is in instances like this that the media has to exercise civic restraint instead of being the sounding board for misguided miscreants who wish to sow confusion among a panic stricken public. This was pronounced all the more when the Editor-in-Chief of a prominent news channel was among the first to report fresh terror strikes on Friday without verifying the antecedents of those sources. It may be true that in matters as these where time is always of the essence in reporting a news story, particular emphasis has to be laid on responsible reporting to ensure that an already bad situation is not allowed to take a turn for the worse on account of an error of judgment on the part of the fourth estate.

    The political establishment owes India some explanations as to why there was no action in response to information that terror strikes in Mumbai were imminent. Was it because of complacency as was displayed by the deputy chief minister who had the cheek to call an attack of this magnitude an insignificant event or was it because of the belief that “The Spirit of Mumbai” would prevail? Whatever be the reason, there is an indisputable need for reforms with regards to how security is managed within the country. Maybe the Ministry of Home should be a portfolio that is managed directly by the Prime Minister with accountability and a failure resulting in his removal or resignation. However, all said, the act of ensuring security has to begin at the grassroot level with the local police forces across the country. It is time that the institution of the police force is brought out of ignominy and exalted through better pay, opportunity and training to ensure that incidents of these stature are prevented through increased, better and sensitive policing.

    A sad state of affairs was revealed when it was put out in the court of public opinion regarding the lack of coordination between a number of our national and state agencies in charge of formulating our response to this incident. It is possible that this could have arisen on account of the ill-preparedness owing to the non-existence of an anti-terrorism doctrine. It is now time to rise above political partisanship and create a position on how in the event of future incidents, damages and loss of life can be contained to a bare minimum as it is important to remember that though prevention is better than cure, it is not always possible to prevent. After all, it has been said time and again, the terrorists only have to get lucky once but the intelligence forces and response teams have to be lucky always. Maybe if a foundation is laid to putting in place a response framework, the NSG might not have to waste precious time in getting to the focal point of future incidents.

    As a response to the public anger which has been galvanized by the press, there have been resignations of those in positions of power. Yes, it does prompt the appearance of a government cleaning house bowing to popular opinion, but does it really mean a call to arms in response to a definite threat in a manner which is the need of the hour. These resignations are nothing but an eyewash to appease the angry majority who will go about their business when they see some form of reaction from within the halls of power. However, we should not be fooled by incomplete actions and half measures for these are the very reasons why our nation is still vulnerable to the threat of terrorism inspite of us hankering for the position of the 21st century’s superpower. All these aspirations will mean nothing if our political and intellectual elite fail to address the basic need for security. It was nothing short of disgusting to watch certain sections of the political elite who had previously gunned for Hemant Karkare with respect to his handling of the Malegaon issue rush to beatify him when he had martyred himself in the cause of the country. This is what we as a nation do not need at this time.

    The aftermath of the attacks have seen India’s position deteriorate as a rising power to fall to the depths of a third world nation as was evidenced by a report which positioned India as being among the 20 most dangerous places in the world in the company of the likes of Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia and others. For us as citizens, there is no escaping the fact that the attacks have affected the global perception of India irrespective of what our politicians and some PIOs have been shouting from the rooftops. This is why; we should be united in our response by giving our country what she needs in this hour of grief remembering that it is not the past that matters but the present by using it as a bridge to create a better future. There should rise from among our midsts more brave and courageous sons who will stand against the threat that now resonates in our collective consciousness. These attacks have robbed us of our innocence and it is but a necessity that we need to respond adequately and appropriately.

    Though it is true that this has been an incident which has drawn the eyes of the world upon us, there is an opportunity that lies in the form of a silver lining to the dark cloud that is terrorism. Just as Franklin Delano Roosevelt unveiled the New Deal which led to the vanquishing of the Great Depression in the United States, our political and our business fraternity needs to come together on this issue and single-handedly resolve to increase the allocation of resources to strengthen our security infrastructure. This is not only as a means of increasing our sense of safety as citizens but also as a means of increasing employment and tiding through the financial crisis as more jobs means more spending and increased prosperity through the development of the internal economy.

    Yes it is a fact that there have been lapses with regards to the handling of the attacks from the time that the terrorists initiated the standoff. There will be more revelations that will come out in the coming days that will intensify public anger. But maybe this is a subject that will have to be dealt with sans emotion in an objective manner in partnership with those that have successfully fought terror in the past without turning it into a spectacle that enables selfish vested interests to draw capital out of the suffering of many and the shame of a nation.

    It is time for us to stand together as one nation indivisible and say enough is enough and mean it for once. To those that have lost their loved ones, I offer my condolences as a proud Indian and hope that we are able to learn our lessons from this tragedy and move forward and onward implementing policies which ensure that the sacrifices of these brave sons were not in vain. The war cry must be “Remember, Remember the 26th of November” if another tragedy of this proportion should not repeat in the annals of our history. Stand together, be focused and stand proud, for we are Indians and we will not be cowed down.

  3. May you find serenity and tranquility in a world
    You may not always understand.

    May the pain you have known and conflict you have experienced
    Give you the strength to walk through life
    Facing each new situation with courage and optimism.

    Always know that there are those whose love and understanding
    Will always be there, even when you feel most alone.

    May you discover enough goodness in others
    To believe in a world of peace.

    May a kind word, a reassuring touch, a warm smile be yours
    Every day of your life,
    And may you give these gifts as well as receive them.

    Remember the sunshine when the storm seems unending.

    Teach love to those who know hate,
    And let that love embrace you as you go into the world.

    May the teaching of those you admire become part of you,
    So that you may call upon them.
    Remember, those whose lives you have touched
    And who have touched yours are always a part of you,
    Even if the encounters were less than you would have wished.
    It is the content of the encounter that is more important than it’s form.

    May you not become too concerned with material matters,
    But instead place immeasurable value on the goodness in your heart.

    Find time in each day to see the beauty and love in the world around you.

    Realize that each person has limitless abilities,
    But each of us is different in our own way.
    What you may feel you lack in one regard
    May be more than compensated for in another.
    What you feel you lack in the present
    May become one of your strengths in the future.

    May you see your future as one filled with promise and possibility.
    Learn to view everything as a worthwhile experience.

    May you find enough inner strength to determine your own worth by yourself,
    And not be dependent on another’s judgement of your accomplishments.

    May you always feel loved.

    Copyright © 1987 Sandra Sturtz Hauss

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