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Security apparatus must focus on prevention

After the 2008 terror attacks that saw our police machinery and security policies disintegrate, the state government had promised to take several steps to modernise our security and intelligence systems.

mumbai Updated: Jul 14, 2011 02:00 IST
Ketaki Ghoge

After the 2008 terror attacks that saw our police machinery and security policies disintegrate, the state government had promised to take several steps to modernise our security and intelligence systems.

Three years since then, the city once again witnessed a frighteningly familiar scenario - serial blasts at three highly congested areas of the city.

So why is our government and police always caught napping when terror strikes? Security experts and former home department officials believe that authorities are missing the big picture as they run behind catchwords like `modernisation of police’.

"Getting higher budgets for security, procuring better equipment for police is a given, but this is not enough to prevent such terror attacks. The home department and police is not asking a basic question – why is this happening?", said a former home department official, on condition of anonymity.

Despite upgrading the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), senior police officials leading the security agencies had failed to carry out basic tasks like profiling terrorists, their breeding grounds, and identifying their motivations, he said.

Former IPS officer turned lawyer, Y P Singh was scathing in his appraisal. ``This was expected. The city seems to be seeing such attacks every three years. And, one of the main reasons is our utter failure in intelligence gathering."

Singh, like the former bureaucrat, agrees that post 26/11, authorities have taken cover under procuring modern equipment like armoured jeeps and boats that can help in firefighting but are of no help in averting terror.

"We don’t have an integrated intelligence and security system. Research and Intelligence Wing, Intelligence Bureau, state CID, Mumbai police all function independently of each other, without sharing any intelligence,’’ Singh said.

Another former top cop admitted that police networks meant to source information about terrorists were inadequate and their informers were largely from the world of crime.

Advocate S N Desai, General secretary, Forum For Integrated National Security, said, "Unless there is an integrated policy towards security, terror modules cannot be handled in isolation. And, the onus rests on the government to formulate a separate policy not reliant on paramilitary forces and police."