Pune attack. Threat reality check.
After weeks of obsessing over the safe release of a movie My Name Is Khan (featuring Mr Shah Rukh Khan) – we now get a jolt. The terrorists have shown us the relative damage potential. They do not give a rats ass about Valentines Day either.
This media manufactured news provided free publicity to Mr Khan and to Mr Thackeray. So how potent was the Shiv Sena threat ? Every visual I saw on TV of Shiv Sena activists had only close up shots. There were only about a dozen people behaving like general lunatics.
The safe second place strategy
To understand the issue, imagine you are Mr Thackeray. You wake up in the morning and find 8-10 TV OB vans outside your house. Journalists (mostly impressionable young people in the process of being brainwashed and taught the art of ignoring the obvious) are salivating outside your gate, waiting to catch a statement of yours.
This is a politicians dream. The following outcome of this drama does not really bother the Shiv Sena :
- Nationwide media ridicule (eg, Tiger meows)
- Exposing the potency of the threats issued by Shiv Seva
- Further consolidation of the conventional wisdom by the media. The wisdom being : The Congress is benign and the others have issues.
Any leader could have assessed the above outcome based on his own strengths and popular sentiment. So why did Shiv Sena paint its own face black ?
Here is the answer : There are a lot of parties that are quite content being a safe second or third place. A shining example is the Congress party in Tamilnadu. Maybe the Shiv Sena is quite happy these days protecting its business interests and assets of its core constituency. Maybe they don’t really have ambitions of anything bigger than the next real estate deal – which would go through a lot smoother if they played the ‘safe second place’ strategy. More and more of Indian politics had moved to backroom negotiations over this or that deal. The Congress has shown time and again that it has the power to calibrate the impact of any Sena threat. I’d be surprised if the Mumbai police does not know the names and addresses of the trouble makers by now.
Will the media ask the following tough questions to the party that rules at both the centre and state ? Will they resist the temptation to interpret and cushion ?
I have never been to Pune, but this strikes me as odd.
- We are told we knew Mr Headley conducted recon of the area
- We know the German bakery was a well known hangout
- Was there a security assessment done in that establishment? Similar ones?
- In the wake of the knowledge of the recon : Was there anything done at all ?
- What impact did the redirecting of the police force to protect a Bollywood movie impact any patrolling in that area ? Who blew the Shiv Sena threat out of proportion and who underestimated the Congress’s power to calibrate the Senas impact ?
We cant prevent these terrorist acts.
We can only ensure that to conduct such a terrorist act would require the perpetrators to defeat some countermeasures first.
The media and its personalities in the recent weeks have shown themselves to be childish, partisan, and irresponsible name callers. Hopefully such incidents will make them change their ways and direct them to their main job. Reporting news faithfully. Yeah, I know, its unglamorous.