Post- St Petersburg, Post-Dortmund Thought – Why Have Trains and Buses Escaped the Laptop Ban?
Governments with a divisive agenda have realised that the best way to pre-empt backlash or criticism over any irrational decision is to give it a safety and security tag.
Even as businesses are beginning to wake up to the implications of the device ban on flights, it appears that US President Donald Trump is toying with the idea of applying the restrictions to more countries, including the United Kingdom, its closest ally, and some in Europe. Initially, it was thought the bans would be extended to countries such as Pakistan and India.
Go for a Blanket Ban
Amid the evolving developments, several questions rankle my mind as these piecemeal introductions of curbs appear to make little sense. Bans based on just the present are reactive actions laden with pitfalls. Proactive actions that factor in any future threats, going beyond the stereotypal apprehensions, will be more meaningful.
- Why not make it a blanket worldwide ban?
- Since home-grown terrorists exist even in the West, including the U.S., shouldn’t the restrictions be all-encompassing with no country enjoying any exemption? After all, wasn’t the liquids ban on flight cabins applied globally, prevalent till today?
- Why should it apply only to a few countries when passengers can simply circumvent the ban by travelling through others that are not affected?
- Why is the focus only on flights? The world has seen terror strikes at train stations (St Petersburg being the recent one and London and Mumbai not too long ago) and buses (Dortmund recently) as well. If battery bombs can fit into laptops and tablets such as iPad, shouldn’t the restrictions cover trains and buses as well?
Picture from Daily Express
- When trains traverse across Europe, why have they escaped the ban?
- Why does the world think terrorism will remain confined to one religion associated with ISIS, al-Qaeda and many such outfits? Mercenaries across every religion can be roped in for the job. They have been in the past and this includes some from both the U.K. and the U.S.
- Fundamentalism in India: With religious fundamentalism, majoritarianism and hatred against the minorities in India now pervasive, any complacence will be imprudent as the country has seen several attacks by non-Islamic extremist elements.
Oppose Temple and Risk Beheading
Killing in the name of Hindutva is not uncommon, with one BJP leader even saying in Hyderabad recently that anyone opposed to the Ram temple in Ayodhya will be beheaded.
I have lived in Hyderabad in the 80s and been a witness to communal riots that used to happen with a certain periodicity. It is only during the last decade or so the city has been peaceful. I hope these lumpen elements don’t bring violence back to the streets of the lovely city.
Cisco, HP Had Funded Militant Groups
There are some fanatics living in the U.S. and doing all they can to foment anti-Christian and anti-Islam trouble in India, abusing the freedom of expression vested in them.
- A few U.S.-based pro-RSS NGOs, such as the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), had in the past collected funds from technology giants such as Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard in the name of charity and diverted them for suspect causes.
Cisco later suspended the funding after IDRF’s links to the RSS were exposed. But the NGO still appears to exist, continuing to collect funds.
Implications for Business
The ban on electronic devices in flight cabins had come into force on March 24, when I had come up with a post, With Device Ban, Business Focus May be Back on Virtual Meetings, raising such questions as:
- How will businesses brace up for the device ban?
- Will they start implementing what used to be cost-cutting measures such as meetings through videoconferencing.
- If so, will the ban be a blessing in disguise for companies as travels do involve a significant cost chunk?
Airline Fares Remain High
But then that post was more about the implications for business, including for airlines, than on the ban itself. It appears airlines will be fine as I have only seen the fares go up since the ban as passengers are finding ways to circumvent the restrictions and not give up business travel.
Where it can get tricky is when the curbs become applicable for commuting by trains and buses. It will affect commuting to the office through those modes of transport on a day-to-day basis. If that happens, it will accelerate acceptance of the virtual office as there is no way the staff can avoid carrying laptops or iPads with them for their routine work.
Sounds crazy? Curbs that are flippant can invite posts that are just as flippant!
G Joslin Vethakumar