The security lapse at the Lokayukta office in Bengaluru that led to the stabbing in which Justice Vishwanath Shetty was grievously injured represents an appalling governmental failure. A disgruntled complainant who knew the ins and outs of security procedures and was a frequent visitor barged in without being frisked or questioned, and was able to stab the ombudsman several times. While the Lokayukta may feel duty-bound to be accessible to people, there’s no excuse for lackadaisical security around his office. The metal detector hadn’t been working for four years, and the assailant could get past a gunman, a head constable and four constables without being stopped. If complainants feel that their grievances aren’t being addressed, they might get angrier with the ombudsman than the government, and hence the need for greater security for the Lokayukta.
It’s a fact that politicians, who surround themselves with high security everywhere, are less enthusiastic about an ombudsman breathing down their necks. That could be a reason why the Lokayukta’s security wasn’t a top priority for the administration. What raises more questions about the lax security in Bengaluru is that the earlier holder of that office had warned the government several times. Also, the Karnataka Lokayukta is more active than most and its actions had even once led to a chief minister’s resignation. To have a Lokayukta facing a threat to his life and well-being after a few incidents had taken place earlier in the ombudsman’s office shows the government in pretty poor light.