Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Saturday told states to raise special anti-terror units to meet the challenges posed by terrorists deploying military tactics, and cautioned them against playing into their hands by pre-mature release of information that could divide people.
Patil’s advice comes in the backdrop of reports from Maharashtra detailing the status of investigations in the Malegaon blast in which Pragyasingh Thakur and a serving colonel of the army are accused.
The minister — who detailed the steps being taken by the government to counter terrorism in his inaugural address at the conference of police chiefs — reminded the top brass that terrorists depended on their ability to create fear psychosis and chose targets that could lead to communal trouble. They attacked religious places so as to create rift among people of different religions or communities.
“The police have to bear this in mind… when investigating and informing people about their activities and investigations that are not complete,” Patil said, emphasizing, “religions or cultures do not preach terrorism.”
Pointing to the increasing sophistication of terrorists, he also asked state governments to raise specialised units to fight terrorism and ramp up training for all policemen.
“Terrorists have begun to use military tactics... At present, terrorists are using sophisticated small weapons and explosive devices to perpetrate terror… In future, they’r likely to use nuclear, biological and chemical devices and other mechanical and psychological devices,” he told the police chiefs.
But, he also made it clear that they should not expect a POTA-like law that goes against the basic principles of the criminal justice system. It did not imply that his government’s approach to terrorism — the focus of the conference — was soft but “balanced and just, legal and constitutional”, he said.