Centre’s new multi-pronged approach against militancy
1 October 2006
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: As part of its multi-pronged strategy to deal with terrorism, the Centre has decided to give special emphasis on strengthening police forces by raising new battalions, filling existing vacancies and providing modern weapons to them. Intensive training to police personnel and ensuring that states have better transport facilities are some other salient features of the latest approach of the security establishment to deal with the menace, according to sources in the Union Home Ministry. The sources said these measures were being taken as a follow up action to the meeting of Chief Ministers convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here last month to have a close look at the internal security situation in the country. Collection of intelligence at the national, state, district and local levels and sharing of inputs were other thrust areas, they said. With intelligence agencies warning further intensification of terror attacks, the Prime Minister had sought closer cooperation between the Centre and States and asked Chief Ministers to personally monitor steps to improve intelligence generation and collection. Identifying development as a key issue to strike at the root of terrorism, an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) will be set up soon and it is likely to be headed by the Finance Minister with the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission as a member. The EGoM has been proposed by the Prime Minister. Laying emphasis on special branches to police forces has also been suggested by the Home Ministry, which is not averse to taking help of private security and intelligence agencies as part of the strategy. Strengthening of civil defence organisation too was under consideration. Another measure is providing training to people by sensitising them to fight terror, the sources said adding that creation of police and peace committees to involve people to fight terror was also being given a serious thought. The Government is also contemplating increasing allocation for police departments in the budget and show them as development expenditure, and taking more care on the socio- economic aspects. With the country having a long coastline, the MHA feels that greater vigilance is needed on the sea routes as also along the land borders with neighbouring countries. The Prime Minister had made it a point at the Chief Ministers’ meet that states like Jammu and Kashmir and those in the north-eastern region should be 'specially sensitive to the nuances of each situation.' Referring to the inputs by intelligence agencies, he said, these warned of a 'further intensification of violent activities by externally-inspired and directed terrorist outfits in the country.' Intelligence agencies have spoken about the possibility of more 'fidayeen' (suicide) attacks, use of suicide bombers, picking up economic and religious targets and vital installations including nuclear establishments and army camps. The Government is also concerned over reports suggesting that 'terrorist modules and sleeper cells exists in some urban areas'. On the number of vacancies in the police, concern was expressed by the Prime Minister himself when he said states were not doing enough in filling up vacancies in police and other law and order agencies or improving the quality of state’s special branches or toning up the security aspects. Sources in the North Block say that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has shown signs of improvement in past two years. However, with anti-India and anti-national elements continuing in their efforts to whip up emotions and transform them into a violent movement, there was a need to be on guard, they added.