• mid-day editorial: Railway cops, don't ignore the call of duty

    mid-day correspondentMumbaiJul 22, 2017, 06:03 IST

    In a city that has witnessed a series of attacks on local trains and at railway stations, it is alarming to read about the police's apathy recently, when an alert commuter tried to draw their attention to an unattended bag left behind in a local. Instead of springing into action, one officer hung up on her, while another cop insisted on asking her whether she was happy with the customer service.

    The railways have notices on every station platform and make frequent announcements asking commuters not to touch any unattended bags and immediately call the security helpline. This commuter did just that, but she had to make eight calls to the helpline before a cop finally showed up and, by then, the train had already left the station.

    Are we serious about fighting terror? There is little point in announcements and notices if the follow-up is so pointless. Once again, our system has shown that there is far too much focus on the informant rather than the actual information of a possible threat.

    These incidents show just how lightly we take threats, and refuse to learn from the past. We are still bogged down by red tape. There is no clear chain of command or an understanding of how to react in case a situation arises.

    Instead of a smooth, calm and quick flow of information and action, we saw a frustrating rigmarole, exposing a total lack of understanding and coordination. We simply do not have the infrastructure or understanding to respond to emergencies and crises. This has been proven repeatedly and we have come up woefully and shockingly short once again.

    We need to clean up our act when it comes to acting on suspicions and warnings. Flippant dismissals and wasting time is simply unacceptable and very dangerous.

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