Driving near Ulsoor lake yesterday afternoon, I saw a trash bin that was burning. A little ahead, there was a procession for the meeting of the Hindu mahasabha whatever. On the other side of the road, an auto was burning.
The road appeared blocked, so I turned back and as I came close to the burning trash bin, an explosion that sounded like a firecracker came out of the trash bin. Maybe a mini-petrol bomb or something. Nothing whizzed past and so I made my way back into Frazer town.
Police everywhere, flags (with Om symbols) flying from houses, people walking with bandanas (with Om symbols), and traffic that was unsure where to go. Luckily, we figured out a way to get out of the troubled areas and reached home, albeit through a much longer route.
Fast forward a couple of hours and the news is all about how buses were torched. Then, curfew being clamped in certain areas. Later, news about a policeman being stabbed. A boy killed, apparently by a bullet.
All this comes a few days after a protest rally (to protest Saddam Hussein’s execution) went awry and people created trouble. You’d think that the government and the police would’ve learned something.
No. One politician said in today’s newspaper that if the government had not taken steps, things would’ve been worse. Tell that to the family of the boy who was killed. Worse, the police cameras that are used to identify the culprits were not working or not turned on or some such thing.
The situation when we were driving in the afternoon yesterday was tense and we were on the fringes of the violence–it probably hadn’t started. I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been for the people in the areas where the trouble occured.
It’s all so illogical. You know that a large number of people are gathering in one place. You know, from past experiences, that there may be trouble. The police preparation was inadequate. If you look at the gear that our policemen have, it’s ridiculous. Not much protection, save for a helmet and maybe a lathi. Some do get better gear but where’s all the money that the government collects going?
A strong police presence may have deterred people from doing stupid stuff. Trouble may have occured but surely, it would’ve been easier to squelch. I know hindsight’s 20-20 but didn’t we just have an experience we could’ve learned from?
When will we learn?