Friday, December 30, 2005

State police ill-equipped

State police ill-equipped
Continuous Monitoring,Transfer Of Intelligence Vital To Protect Targets
The Times of India

Bangalore: The 9/11 attacks, the London blasts, the Parliament attack, Delhi blasts, and now bullets in Bangalore. It was waiting to happen. Yet, the act of terror has sent security agencies scurrying for cover.
The Karnataka police is ill-equipped to handle such situations with no experience in antiterror activity. Neither does its anti-terror unit have any staff. Despite intelligence agencies working overnight, and data being pooled in from all cities, the police are breaking their heads to crack the case. Security agencies from Delhi and experts from Mumbai will have to quickly step in and give cover to the Bangalore police

Experts working for long in Intelligence departments told The Times of India what Bangalore requires is “Delhi type policing’’. The police will require equipment.

Bangalore has been a safe haven for people, including the underworld in many cases, and one cannot forget the times when Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins were holed up on the outskirts of Bangalore. But today, it has become the target of attack. Most scientific and vital establishments in Bangalore do not have closed circuit TV cameras at their campuses. Says Ratnakar Rao, a former RAW additional director and former Chief of Security to the Prime Minister, there is a general impression that the Centre had passed on information that extremists were targetting soft targets, and Bangalore has been specifically mentioned. However, there was no information in this case. Rao said there has to be coordination between the state agencies and the central agencies on a continuing basis. If there is information of a threat, then the agencies concerned — like the IB, RAW and the state police task force — need to monitor this and pass on information on a continuous basis. The advantage extremists have is that they can choose the timing and target at their will. It is a task to protect soft targets. All the states are thinking of commando forces, but they can only be in a central place. It will be impossible to station commandos in all the states.

Alerts end up being mere formalities

When terror actually slammed the city on Wednesday, the police were caught unawares. The police, whose reaction to intelligence alerts does not go beyond vehicle searches, suffered the first big blow when terrorists rained bullets on scientists at the IISc campus. “Had we taken the alerts seriously, this strike could have been pre-empted,’’ a senior police officer said. On why alerts are normally not taken seriously, a senior officer explained: “Everytime a terrorist strike takes place in north Indian cities or terrorists are arrested, a general alert is sounded. Hundreds of such alerts are received in a year, but nothing concrete is established. Over a period of time, such alerts are nothing but completion of bureaucratic formalities.’’ Several warnings of terrorist strike were given but nothing actually happened. On Monday last, the Delhi police busted a terrorist module that warned of a attack in Bangalore. But this time too the police did not take the warnings seriously.

Now, police to take corrective measures

Commissioner of Police Ajai Kumar Singh too said on Thursday the Bangalore police will now take corrective measures to step up security.

The police did not rule out the involvement of terrorist organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Singh said. The investigations through the night have revealed that more than one person was involved in the operation. “We found a bag in which they must have carried the weapons. There were other things in the bag, which do not rule out the possibility of more than one person being involved in the crime,’’ he said. Asked if the attack was a slap in the face of the police, especially since the Sadashivnagar police station was just 5 minutes away from the scene of crime, Singh said: “There are a lot of places where such incidents have happened, like the attack on Parliament. It is for you to make the inference.’’


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