Friday, December 30, 2005

Anti-Terrorist Cell 'battles files, not terrorists'

Anti-Terrorist Cell 'battles files, not terrorists'
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The first ever terror strike in the City has come as a wake up call to the State Government to strengthen its Anti-Terrorist Cell (ATC), which now just handles government files, like any other department.

In the absence of its own men and logistical support, the cell headed by an officer of the rank of Inspector General of Police (IGP) is working as part of the State Police Intelligence Wing and does little to check terrorist activities in the state.

While the silicon valley of India has been pushed on to the terror map of the country quite sometime back, the Government is sitting on a proposal to strengthen the ATC on the lines of a similar set-up in Andhra Pradesh.

In AP, the cell has its own officers and men in all Naxal-prone districts to collect and analyze information about Naxal activities. The information is shared with the senior officer in-charge of `Greyhounds,' a special unit formed to check Naxal activities.

Ironically, in Karnataka the cell has just a few officers, that too only at the headquarters. They just handle files assigned to them by their senior officers in the intelligence wing. The cells do not have its men at district headquarters.

The proposal pending with the government suggests for deputing more number of officers to the cell and also providing it with logistic support so that it can operate efficiently to keep an eye on terrorist activities in the state.

The information collected from the cell can be passed on to the respective district police or Anti-Naxal Force, which will act on it. However, according to a senior police officer, collection and dissemination of information about the terrorist activities itself is a very important and tough task. “Sitting at the headquarters the officers of the cell are doing that important job,” the officer added.

He, however, admitted that the Wednesday's attack at IISc would certainly force the government to favourably consider the proposal to strengthen the ATC. Incidentally, the officers at the cell, like their counterparts in the police department were clueless about the attack and its chief was on leave.


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