Ram Pradhan Report on Mumbai Attack opens up many loops and holes in the Indian Administrative System. And when some of the experts on this report based on the 26/11 Mumbai attack were made available in Vidhan Parishad in Maharashtra it created furore. Though all the details are not available, however, it exposed the bullet proof vest scandal.
Have we stooped so low that we are even bargaining with the lives of the people who are protecting us? The unforgettable day for Indian’s – The 26/11 Mumbai Attack – when the whole country was horrified with the attack on Hotel Taj by the terrorists and we lost our countries greatest assets Hemant Karkare ( the chief of Mumbai police anti-terrorism squad), Ashok Kamte (additional police commissioner) and Inspector Vijay Salaskar ( a daredevil encounter specialist) fighting the men who were trying to take over the city they called home. Karkare was only one among the three officers who was wearing the bullet-proof vest worth INR 80,000, but an out dated one that did not have a collar and which could not resist the hard steel core bullets fired from Kalashnikovs. He took three bullets in his neck and died a valiant death.
RAMDAS KADAM RAISED THIS ISSUE
The issue was however raised in the assembly by the opposition leader Ramdas Kadam. While the government promised to look into the issue of the missing files pertaining to the purchase of the vests, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan was insistent that the quality of the vests was in no way inferior. The Mumbai police completed the tender process and bought bulletproof vests was in 2005 as on many occasions tenders were floated but the processes were never completed. There is hardly any record of the purchases made between 1999 and 2005. Without completing the tender process the Mumbai police had bought 1000 vests by spending up to INR 6 crores.
BULLET PROOF VEST QUALITY – WHAT to BUY
Regarding the vest quality when asked the top manufactures and suppliers of the armored defence solutions, they said that “In most instances the consumer (including police officers) don’t know what to buy”. The Bullet proof vests are aught to be purchased or selected on the basis of the threat perceptions i.e for regular combat the armed forces have to switch over to 5.56 caliber bullet ammunition. On the other hand, terrorists use AK-47 which need ammunition of 7.62 calibrate make of the vests too play a major role in maintaining the quality. By using ceramic alumina hard plate coating it can effectively stop hard-core steel bullets fired from a distance and can sustain the bullets fired from the AK-47. Yet another factor which influences the quality of the bullet-proof vests is the storage and maintenance of the vests in a dry area. As in Mumbai the moisture and humidity is high which can damage the new quality vest as fast as in six months. Police were using the vests purchased in 1992-93 and 2001. If that was the case, Karkare was wearing a useless.
IS PAKISTAN TO BE BLAMED FIRST?
Do you think rather than blaming the Pakistan for the terrorism activities, we should do our home work better? As said “Precaution is better than cure”. Who knows the rifles, the tanks, the other equipments we are using are all useless and might give our brave soldiers a slip when they need the most. Shame, we had to loose our top officers to uncover this FRAUD FACT. Shame, the Government are still hiding the truth and not making the report to the public and want to get away by saying the “reports has senstive information”.
And finally this whole episode reminds us of the movie “Rang De Basanti“, where a valiant officer dies due to faulty purchase of Airforce planes. And as usual Government washes its hands off by saying that it was Officer’s fault. Do we need to do something similar like Rang De to wake our Government? Well, we have to, else apart from innocent lives, we will keep lossing our valiant soldiers! Its time to strike back. Its time we get proper answer from the Government, its time these corruption at the VERY Sensitive level of PURCHASE is stopped.