Sanjay Dutt saw terror up close, when he was one of the accused of the 1993 blasts that rocked Mumbai. But the actor has transformed, and now hopes that the lessons of Mumbai's recent terror attack would compel the government to do the same. He spoke to PEOPLE magazine for their special terror issue. We present an excerpt:
In the last three days, when our city was held hostage yet again by a bunch of terrorists, there were countless moments when I was reminded about the '93 serial blasts. And the serial train bombings of 2006.
After this massacre, the city will never be the same again. The drama that unfolded at the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers where innocent families were burnt to death and staffers shot by terrorists brought tears to my eyes. My colleague Ashish Chowdhry lost his sister and brother-in-law during the gun battle at the Oberoi Trident, and so did many others. But where is the solution? Can our government assure us our safety? I don't think so. The disasters come and go but the approach of our government stays the same.
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Every day when I drive to Film City at Goregaon East to shoot for my films, I have this strange feeling. The car next to mine could be driven by some terrorists who can spray bullets at me. I don't mind admitting that I am scared. What kind of a democracy is this where Z-category security is given to VIPs and there are no attempts to safeguard the life and homes of common folks?
For how long will they let innocent people be persecuted for no fault of their own? There has been a blood-bath in the city. When will our VIPs understand that? Government officials should sit up and act now. We cannot continue to have such a haphazard approach to terrorism.
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We haven't seen any heinous acts of terrorism being repeated in the US after the 9/11 attacks. Like them, why can't we take precautions to be safe rather than sorry? This episode was really the final nail on the coffin.
As responsible citizens we pay huge amounts of taxes every year, but our infrastructure and security systems show no signs of improvement yet. If this is how it's going to be, we should stop paying taxes.
My father Sunil Dutt was a member of the parliament and he couldn't achieve anything because he was the lone fighter when it came to improving the quality of life of people in this city. Now the government and citizens will have to unite in waging a war against terrorism.
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As long as we are going to be threatened by some cold-blooded terrorists, we need to invest in equipping our cops with modern warfare training, equipments and ammunitions. We need to back our brave police officers and other security agencies. The heroism they have displayed during the last three days shows that they can match the best forces anywhere in the world.
Our brave-hearts from various security agencies have dealt with a bunch of killers who had rowed their way into the city. But now we have to deal with people who seek our votes.
As told to PEOPLE magazine's Sandipan Dalal