India investigates Delhi High Court blast amid public frustration over security gaps
As the investigation into the Delhi High Court blasts begins, the fact that India's track record of terror attacks has not led to substantial changes in security deepens skepticism that this time will be different, locals say.
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A column in the Indian newspaper The Hindu with the headline, "Delhi investigators hope for a miracle," makes clear the extent of public cynicism about the chances of this attack being solved. None of the attacks since the 2008 Mumbai attack have been resolved.Skip to next paragraph
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"… Officers are privately admitting the thing they need to secure a rapid breakthrough is a miracle.
In spite of massive investments in police infrastructure, deficiencies in investigative skills, careless preventive policing and a crippling lack of intelligence has meant not one urban terrorist attack since the November 2008 Lashkar-e-Taiba assault on Mumbai has been solved.
New Delhi authorities, like their counterparts in other cities, demonstrated a blithe disregard of the threat. No closed-circuit television cameras were installed outside the court complex even after a car-bomb went off outside the High Court in May, failing to kill only because of errors in its fabrication. Faced with protests from lawyers and litigants, sources said, the police also failed to enforce parking regulations in front of the court — adding to its vulnerability."
Bloomberg reports that despite efforts to beef up its police presence and the creation of a new federal agency specifically to investigate terrorist attacks, there are 600,000 police officer vacancies. At its current number, India deploys one officer for every 1,037 residents. The global average is one per every 333 residents.
Public anger regarding the Indian government's inability to prevent regular terrorist attacks is strong, as shown in a blog post by contributor Prashant Agrawal on The Wall Street Journal's India-based blog, India Real Time.
Angry. Mad. Frustrated. I’ve lost count. Most of us have. What is this, the FY12 Q3 bombing? Isn’t it early? Shouldn’t this come a little later? Sometime after Diwali and before Christmas? Or should we just wait for the Q4 bombing?
A dozen more people dead, added to the hundreds who have died over the last decade. We will mourn them. The Prime Minister said what he had to say about not giving in. The word scourge gets trotted out again. The Home Minister says much has been done, more needs to be done. Does anyone even bother to pay attention? Do even the Home Minister and Prime Minister believe their own words?
After the most recent Mumbai blasts, the government had a sliver of an excuse in that the bombs were in crowded places. But this attack happened in a court, which should at any time have a strong security presence. And it was the Delhi High Court, no less – a place where a bomb exploded in May.
After that bombing, the Delhi police conducted a security audit and recommended the installation of security cameras. No surprise here, but there were no security cameras yesterday, only an old-fashioned police sketch of possible suspects. Let’s see if there are any cameras next month or next year.