Hi-tech terrorism needs hi-tech public relations

VINUTHA MALLYA writes: After the ‘blasted’ weekend in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, electricity transformers, unmanned bicycles and parked cars are drawing suspicious looks… until the ‘Indian Mujahideen’ invents its next bomb.

As we wait for the next attack, the State and central governments, the state and central intelligence agencies, are cutting a sorry figure in the eyes of the citizens. They continue to assure us that “all steps are being taken”.

One wonders: do these chaps giving these assurances even know what they are talking about?

Perhaps it is time for our governments and intelligence agencies to hire some PR expertise? Even if only to market messages that can build confidence among citizens that “all steps are being taken”— even if they are only platitudes.

Despite facing years of unrest in various parts of the country, our authorities show up on the crime scene looking like lost babes in the woods. The squad which was looking over the debris and muted bombs on Friday in Bangalore had no protective gear, and in Ahmedabad what was on, didn’t look very safe.

When one looked at the footage pouring in (thanks to TV9 which other channels were borrowing from), the method of cordoning off the area was itself so unscientific that one wonders if we are indeed a rapidly developing country.

Between Mumbai (7/11), Lucknow, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Bangalore (25/7), Ahmedabad and Surat, we don’t seem to have got our act anywhere near together.

Do we now need a deal with the FBI, CIA, and what have you, to help us with our internal security?

Or a Hollywood director of a film like Independence Day maybe?

The statements which were given out by the many secretaries, ministers, opposition leaders can now be scripted by a high school student.

Citizens deserve more than this. They deserve a concerted effort at combating 21st century hi-tech terrorism. We need the intelligence agencies to be more than intelligent. We need them to be smart and savvy. And we need this not just to boost confidence in our agencies, we need this to stop the targetting of innocents and entire communities which are typically the fallout of events like the ones in Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

This would mean a radical shift in the system. It means allocating resources, enhancing skills sets, R&D, whatever it takes. It would also mean that the government, the intelligence and the police will have to work together, understand the nature of this phenomenon, roll up their sleeves and socks and put their hands into the deep mud.

We need this to happen, and we need it now.