Anti-terrorist cell yet to take shape

K.V. Subramanya

Intelligence gathering in State is in disarray

The proposal was made about one year ago after IISc., attack Some policemen do not even know names of terrorist outfits

BANGALORE: Even as the State police are facing a new challenge after the terrorist attack on the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in December 2005, having an exclusive anti-terrorist cell still remains a dream.

The State Government is yet to clear two important proposals made by the city police a year ago on setting up a separate anti-terrorist cell and strengthening the intelligence wing.

Despite being high on the terrorist hit list, Bangalore does not have an anti-terrorist cell. While terrorists have turned technology savvy and are equipping themselves with latest gadgets such as satellite phones and laptops, the intelligence wing is in a shambles due to shortage of staff and equipment.

Although the police top brass has discussed the matter with the Home Department at several meetings, the Government has not accorded sanction, sources in the city police told The Hindu on Tuesday.

The Government has fulfilled only 50 per cent of the requests made by the police for manpower and sophisticated weapons for upgrading the security at the Vidhana Soudha and the Vikasa Soudha, the sources said.

The matter was recently brought to the notice of Home Minister M.P. Prakash and he has said that he would get the proposals cleared. Even if the Government granted permission in a month or two, it would take at least a year to form a full-fledged anti-terrorist cell, the sources said.

After the IISc., attack, the then Commissioner of Police Ajai Kumar Singh had proposed to the Government to establish an anti-terrorist cell headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police.

Dr. Singh wrote to the Director-General and Inspector-General of Police highlighting the need for having such a cell even at the State level.

To ensure that work did not suffer, Dr. Singh had constituted a temporary cell by drawing officers from other wings. As these officers had to attend to duties in their parent wings, they had not been able to concentrate on gathering intelligence on terrorists, the sources said.

Senior police officials are of the view that gangsters and militants from other parts of the country migrate to Bangalore as the surveillance here is not strict. Officials here have been according priority to intelligence on political, communal, trade union and student organisation activities. They have not focused on terrorist groups as has been done in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad, where separate counter-intelligence cells have been set up to gather information on militant groups, the sources said.

The bane of the intelligence wing has been the shortage of trained personnel for intelligence gathering. Most of the policemen working in the intelligence wing do not have a fair knowledge of terrorists groups. Many do not even know the names of these outfits, according to the sources.

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