Saying we were shocked would be the understatement of the year. Terrorist attack in Bangalore? At IISc?? C’mon, that can’t be true, was the first reaction. But as we watched the breaking news, first on E-TV Kannada at 8 PM and then on the various Hindi news channels, there was no denying it, it had happened and in our very own Bangalore, celebrated till date as the peaceful, laid-back, safest city that one could live in.
What was more shocking was the target chosen. There had been bomb-hoaxes at quite a few software companies for sometime now. One wouldn’t have been surprised to such an extent if one of those had been the scene for this attack. But IISc? That sleepy, serene place down CV Raman road, 10 mins drive away from my home? That’s the temple for Science, the Mecca for all scientists and students!
One doesn’t need to be a student there to love it, it comes naturally to everyone, it’s the pride of Bangalore, it has been home to some of the most brilliant and illustrious scientists of the country. Why would anyone want to shoot down scientists when all they have been doing is leading a secluded life, completely dedicated to research and scientific development? But probably, that’s exactly why the jehadis chose them as their targets – to send across this chilling message that nobody is safe and nobody will be spared…
There are talks of lapse in security, not enough precautionary measures taken in the city even after a terrorist attack plan for Bangalore and Hyderabad was recently intercepted by the intelligence agencies… but who would have imagined that a couple of old men in the city to attend a conference on operations management for infrastructure development would turn out to be the soft-targets for a militant attack?
IISc is a place where scores of such seminars and conferences happen every day, people can walk into the campus and not necessarily just to attend one of these. We did our final year project there and we’d go there every other day, even if we didn’t need to meet the prof; we went to savour the fresh, pure air in the campus, the pristine surroundings, the wonderful special feeling just sitting in the canteen with those brilliant students and profs, we’d sit chatting for hours and dream of one day coming there to study and staying at the hostel.
Night or day, there’re people walking about, especially the students, working late hours in the labs, attending seminars and classes, as in any other such institutes like the IITs and IIMs. This is because there used to be a feeling of absolute safety inside the campus, freedom to walk around at any time unquestioned, a feeling of ‘nothing can happen to me here’. Now, all that will change. The security will be beefed up, there’ll be stringent monitoring of people entering and leaving the campus and probably a complete ban on the entry of outsiders visiting for no reason. The seed of fear has been planted in the minds of the Bangaloreans, if that was the intention of the attackers then they could not have chosen a better target.
But… we should not let this affect our lives, not in the way they wanted it. The very thought of attacking the elite knowledge seekers and givers is deplorable. The best way to condemn this attack is to not let it strike fear and panic in the city, in the spirit of the people; we need to go on as normal, albeit with increased security measures in every way possible and leave no stones unturned in our efforts to nab and punish these perpetrators. I hope the government and the police live up to this daunting task…