Even as the Maharashtra government is embroiled in an unseemly row among the top ranks of its IPS officers over the November 26 attacks, it proposes a solemn commemoration of last year’s terror strike that killed 163 people and nine terrorists.
Former Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor’s interview in The Week magazine - where he said “a section of senior police officers refused to be on the ground and take on the terrorists” - has set off a storm of protest from the officers who were named. The government has asked the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) to probe the matter.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, at a press conference on Monday, refused to be drawn into the controversy. “The police are a very disciplined organisation and this does not fit into it. Gafoor could have used other ways of redressing his complaint,” Mr. Chavan said.
One of the four officers named by Mr. Gafoor has threatened to file a defamation suit. Mr. Chavan said he did not want to indulge in the blame game any more. “We have learnt many things from the attacks, I am not supporting the shortcomings.”
Regarding the Ram Pradhan committee report on November 26, Mr. Chavan said the relevant portions of the report were tabled in the Assembly and even made public. He refused to elaborate on why the entire report was kept secret.
The city will see a spate of events to commemorate the worst terror strike it has witnessed. There will be a parade of the police and its new gadgets and technology on the morning of November 26, and Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram will be present in the evening at the unveiling of a martyr’s memorial at the Police Gymkhana in South Mumbai. A prayer meeting will also be held at the Gateway of India that evening.
“Security is the topmost agenda of this government,” State Home Minister R.R. Patil said, adding that Rs. 226 crore was available to the Home department for security purposes and that there was no shortage of funds.
The elite Force One commandos will have their passing out parade on Tuesday morning.
Mr. Chavan said there was now better coordination on intelligence and that the Home Ministry was working closely with other agencies on this front. The State has 39 assault teams, apart from modern guns and a new Intelligence Training Institute at Pune. There are speed boats, amphibians and a new hub of the National Security Guard, one of the four new regional ones in the country.