There has been a rapid deterioration in the security situation in Mumbai over the past 3 years or so.
I am not referring to the 26/11 terrorist attack or its aftermath.
I am referring simply to the cases of attack on innocent people by their own security guards. I have no bandwidth right now to write about the other aspects of the safety situation in the city, such as road accidents involving school buses for example, but I will eventually write about that aspect as well.
It appears that Mumbai has learnt the bad aspects of Delhi life. Delhi still steals the thunder when it comes to the reputation ranking of the worst biggest city in India wherein women are not safe, but it appears that Mumbai is fast catching up. Mumbai, incidentally, had (and sometimes has) the reputation for the safest big city in India, but is fast losing that.
The recent attacks on women staying alone in apartments by the building society’s own security guards are to be severely condemned. I did not see the government stepping up to the challenges. One simple thing to do is to disenfranchise all private security agencies in the city who are not “security-cleared” by the police.
We are endangering our people in two different ways – the private security agencies are not truly certified to do their work and the guards are not pre-approved or pre-registered to ensure quality, consistency and safety. This is like letting the cow graze its own backyard freely with no controls or safety checks.
Unfortunately, in India (like in almost everything), we tend to blame the government for all the ills of the society, and this case is no different. But the least that we can do is to ensure that the agencies we appoint in out own building societies are pre-cleared with the police, and there are adequate monitoring mechanisms provided so that the guards do not tinker with the automated security apparatus. The guards should never have access to the electricity supply to the apartment – it is not their job. The latest murder case in the city couple of days ago shows that such basic principles were violated. If the building society or the builder is lax in such areas, we have to be prepared otherwise to expect trouble.
Further, there is a feeling in Mumbai that it is indeed a safe city – many people have told me that it is far better than Delhi. This is a false feeling and should be discarded forthwith. In any place which has a wide disparity of incomes and living styles, there is bound to be jealousy and hunger for something better. While we cannot condone criminal actions based on that, we need to be adequately prepared for any consequences. People come to Mumbai from all over the country looking for jobs, and that cannot be stopped in a free country. The least we can do is to ensure our own safety and security by insisting on certain mechanisms for which we are paying our hard earned money in any case. Why not insist on quality ?
So, let us not forget safety and security in our own maximum city.
11th August 2012