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'PM wants new task force'

Manmohan Singh has recommended the setting up of a task force that will tackle the emerging changes of terrorism, Left-wing extremism and insurgency, HT reports.

delhi Updated: Nov 24, 2008 00:58 IST
HT Correspondent

Manmohan Singh has recommended the setting up of a task force that will tackle the emerging changes of terrorism, Left-wing extremism and insurgency.

Addressing the annual conference of Directors General of Police on Sunday, its concluding day, the Prime Minister suggested that the new body could function under National Security Adviser MK Narayanan. It should be provided a 100-day mandate to develop integrated capabilities to deal with all anti-national activities, he said.

“Time is not on our side. We cannot afford a repetition of the kind of terrorist attacks that have taken place in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat, Guwahati and other urban centres.”

The Prime Minister also referred to the “new threats” posed by sectarian violence that has erupted in different parts of the country in past months.

“The virus of communal violence that threatens the secular fabric of our society needs to be checked and checked effectively in time, as these pose a serious threat India’s multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-caste society,” he said.

Official records indicate that in less that six months this year, the country has witnessed 64 bomb blasts, leaving 215 dead and over 900 injured.

Emphasising the need for improving the intelligence gathering mechanism and undertaking police reforms, the Prime Minister said the police force needs to create an image as a “fair and impartial entity”.

The major challenge before the police is to restore the faith of the people — especially those belonging to religious and ethnic minorities and weaker sections — in their impartiality and effectiveness, he said.

In an apparent reference to the recent Batla House encounter, the Prime Minister said that aspersions are being cast today over police impartiality and capability. “This is even so when policemen die in the line of duty.”

The technology of terror has become miniaturised and terrorists have the advantage of surprise. Risks are often unforeseen and this has made the work of law more challenging than ever before, he said. “We need to evolve a networked security architecture to anticipate better.”

He said that in the realm of security, globalisation has produced a whole new range of interactive threats and risks. “Globalization has also led to a blurring of the distinction between external and internal threats,” Singh said.

Referring to “some misgivings” that exist on whether the police is adequately geared to deal with complex security problems, he said the contours of internal security have changed fundamentally over the years, and the basic character of threats has become greatly enlarged and more complicated.