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Govt ready to use private intelligence sleuths

Govt enlists the support of private security agencies to use their security guards to boost available intelligence against terrorists, reports Aloke Tikku.

india Updated: Nov 04, 2006 21:22 IST

The government on Saturday enlisted the support of India’s private security agencies to use their security guards to boost available intelligence against terrorists.

The private security industry had offered to train and use its army of 50-lakh security guards – larger than the combined strength of the police and armed forces – for intelligence gathering. Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Saturday picked up the offer on the table, saying it would be a “useful” exercise.

The minister said the government “would like to encourage them” in this endeavour, especially when “actionable intelligence” – intelligence inputs that can be used to prevent tragedies – was hard to come by. “We know what is likely to happen, not when and where,” Patil admitted at a conference organised by the Central Association of Private Security Industry.

K Vikram Singh, CAPSI president, said the industry could use a part of the proposed 160 hours training that every guard has to undergo on intelligence gathering. “We already have laid-down procedures for channelling this information… It would not be a problem to create a nodal body that the industry can interact with and pass on the information.”

The home minister, however, was quick to advise them not to misuse this nod of approval. “We want that the information should be collected in a manner that does not harm the innocent people,” he said. “What has to be seen is that the power generated is not allowed to be misused… power corrupts”.

Patil, however, made it clear that he did not agree with the hype created around terrorist incidents and outfits. The number of terrorists does not exceed a few thousands; they are trying to “create an impression in our minds that we are all insecure...The fact of the matter is that incidents have come down but the terror quantum has gone up… We have to control this (fear psychosis)”.

Email atikku@hindustantimes.com