Security in Mumbai is in place but it isn’t good enough
Life seems to have changed forever in Mumbai since the 11th of July blasts in 7 local trains which killed 200 people last year.
One year has passed and on the face of it at least, the security has not let up. I had written about the intense checking at malls and multiplexes which started immediately after these blasts…well, at least in Mumbai its still on, but the intensity has reduced. Its more cursory now.
There are also policemen and women on railway platforms, a sight that was rare before the blasts. Well, I hope this scares the would-be terrorist:
But I can’t help but see the indifference on the part of the security personnel and the police…I have seen people walk into malls without being checked – construction workers carrying sacks…employees. I find this strange.
In fact if one compares the checking for bombs, guns, knives etc to checking for food and stolen goods, I see the stark contrast in the attitude of the security…the same security at the same mall….
This checking is far more stringent. As cinema theatres do not allow their patrons to take in food (they want them to buy the exorbitantly priced food on sale inside) they check all bags/purses for food. These checks for food are far more thorough than checks for bombs or guns. While checking for the latter for example, the security guard takes a quick look at you, conducts a cursory check inside your bag/purse and then nods you on…but while entering a cinema hall its a different story. At pvr cinemas in Mulund’s Nirmal Lifestyles mall for example, the security person will routinely rummage in every corner of your bag, then fix you with a rude x-ray glare and ask: Sweets, chocolate kuch hai? (Are you carrying sweets, chocolates). I am rather flummoxed at this attitude.
And oh yes, another hilarious kind of checking that goes on is when enters a department store. The picture below is taken at D-mart department store near my house. They think they have discovered a fool-proof way of preventing theft! They do not allow customers to take their bag/purse inside unless its sealed in a plastic bag! This sealing happens as you enter the store and then while you are paying, the cashier unlocks the bag so that you can retrieve your purse.
These are what I call desperate measures! As the store seems to be unable to prevent their employees chatting amongst themselves (a regular feature here) I guess they believe this is the only way to stop customers stealing! Actually the best preventive measure for shoplifting is to have alert staff. And the joke is that about 45-70 percent of thefts in stores are by the employees themselves!
Well, if security agencies are this alert when it comes to checking for bomb, knives and guns, we would breathe more easy.
(Photos copyrighted to me)