Thursday, November 27, 2008

Porous Security

I have just returned after business trip to Colombo, Mumbai, Karachi and New Delhi. All these four cities have taken the brunt of some of the brutal terrorist attacks on innocent civilians.
As I traveled to all these cities, security was omnipresent. But with the exception of Karachi Airport - I found all the places have large security gaps. At Karachi Marriott and also with other Marriott hotels, there is a sniffer dog that goes around the car. Security asks driver to open the bonnet of the car and also use mirror to check the underneath of the car. But its funny. They never ask passengers to open the bags or check the contents. Perhaps - they believe the metal detector and frisking at the main gate would serve the purpose. But car can still be parked with unwanted contents inside the car. It was the similar Case at Kandy. Dalada Maligava (temple complex where the tooth of Buddha is housed) is one of vulnerable target of LTTE. Car parking security is tough but as porous as any Marriott. They do everything what Marriott does but again no checking of contents of bags or if anyone walks in. One can easily carry bags laden with explosives and walk out.
Airports in India are another comic sight of security. Here a person at the main gate just checks the electronic printout of the ticket and let passenger enter inside the premise while x ray machine is located far away almost close to check in counter. The man on the X ray machine is often busy chatting while glancing down his screen . The boys at the other end of the X ray machine are overeager to strap the bags and put the sticker. At Mumbai airport, man on the X ray screen stopped my suitcase and asked if I am carrying any spray containers. When I said yes, he asked the lady to to do the needful. I promptly handed over her Deodorant but realized that I had few another. This was the best example of callousness. A person who watches the screen delegates it to another person to do the needful.
Security at the Karachi airport was the most efficient. Here barricades outside the main road stopped all the traffic. Police asked to stop the engine and went through the contents of every bag in addition to other checks. To their amazement - my colleague was carrying liquor bottles- something that's forbidden . But practical they were, they were smart not to drag their attention on smaller sins. So is the case with Colombo airport. But here, car was searched to great details but not passengers. I wonder if they rely on face gestures than frisking the passengers.
As I returned to Singapore and saw gory images of deadly attack on Mumbai city, all the incidents of security over past two weeks came to the fore. For Mumbai - its not an attack but a frontal war. Its a shame for Indian intelligence agencies, politicians and bureaucrats who can only react by instituting another high level enquiry. Findings of such enquiries get buried under the rubbles of another attack.



Blogger Sadiya said...

I would be glad if you could read this article by Ajit Dayal by clicking onto the site below
An abstract becomes a reality
Ajit Dayal

3:09 PM  

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