Security or Surveillance ?

Since our last major terror strike at Mumbai two years back , one of the major developments have been about security .  I feel strongly that since a lot of VIP’s died at the TAJ Hotel , a lot of ‘high octane’ drama was enacted both in the parliament , media and other public places .

Let’s do a quick check of what happened post our 9/11 ?

Where do we see most of the surveillance ? Airports , stations , five star hotels etc.  I have stayed in Taj Hotels in Bangalore to CROWN plaza in Delhi and many others. I visit a five start hotel every week to meet friends and visitors who stay in such hotels . Here is what i feel about the so called “over hyped’ security

We have been working for the elite who stay in hotels and travel by air . But still , security issues have not been addressed . Let me walk you through the security processes at display in all major locations

  1. You will find a metal detector ( by default ) at all major public places , and it beeps every time you walk past though it . You are required to take out your cell phone , keep it outside and then walk through it . I has asked at a five star hotel security person in Delhi . If my cell phone was having a bomb what can you do ?? You do not even scan it in the metal detector , i have to keep it in the tray outside the metal detector . The poor guy was doing what his security company had told him. He was blank and answerless.
  2. In every airport , the process is the same .
  3. Interestingly , i was at HYATT regency at Mumbai a day before yesterday. A person came , asked my driver to open the door , bonnet etc wiped the steering with a plastic and went back to the machine to read the plastic . Imagine , i was a terrorist , would i not get enough time  ( while the security guy is reading his plastic wipe !! ) to run my vehicle into the hotel and shoot or blast anything i wanted ?  can you call it security ?
  4. In the hotels , well dressed security chaps will say Namaste to you with folded hands , ask you to open the doors or frisk you. No one  even understands what the hell bonnet of the car looks like or does it have a bomb ?  i bet you that even if i carried an explosive , it would get in well past the entry point ! Like a convict who carried a pistol in Delhi court last week despite all the security !!

So the point i am making is that due to this security scare , dogs have got employment  ( my friend who is President with a reputed five star hotel  had once told me,  that these dogs can work with accuracy only when deployed for 20-40 minutes , but they are made to work for hours ).  So the point is that, it is all show of surveillance and not security . Intelligence and pro-activeness is lacking totally in our system. People standing at the security points are ill equipped , and there is no way that these guys can be alive to resist the attack, if terrorists strike !!

Last week , i took the security officer of Mumbai airport to task for allowing the so called VIP vehicles parked at the exit gate no 2. I informed him that the gate no 2 has only pick up and drop and is not meant for parking, and that the VIP parking had been created specifically a few meters away , but our arrogant VIP’s have taken it as their birth right to flash red light beacon  or VIP numbers and park vehicles posing a big security threat to Mumbai airport. I asked Asst. Police Inspector , Mr, Mane why he did not tow the vehicles parked on the gate 2. He was speechless , he tried to explain that the VIP’s don’t listen . There were at least 6 vehicles blocking the exit , and not a single driver was in the car …………….I wrote the same to the Chief Minister and the Home Minister …..i do hope that these guys act before a strike !!

We have as a nation failed before naxalites and we will continue to fail against terrorism , till we address technology proactively and pre-empt strikes . Current vigilance in the name of security is a farce wasting money and delaying the check-in in the hotel & airports

Hope the policy makers take the note and act

I have marked this to our Home Minister