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Preparing to take on urban terror

25 senior IPS officers of the rank of IGP and above belonging to different states met at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad to discuss new kinds of urban terrorism, reports Soumyajit Pattnaik.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2009 14:19 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik
Soumyajit Pattnaik
Hindustan Times

Twenty-five senior IPS officers of the rank of IGP and above belonging to different states met at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad from January 12-17 to discuss the country’s preparedness to counter new kinds of urban terrorism.

While India witnessed multi-centre attacks in a city (Mumbai), the IPS officers were told to devise mechanisms to counter a multi-city attack (simultaneous Mumbai-type terrorist attacks on many cities).

The officers were first briefed by additional DGP D. Sivanandan, intelligence commissioner of Maharashtra and the IGP, Operations of the National Security Guard (NSG), about the 26/11 operations to flush out the terrorists.

A senior IPS officer who attended this meeting told HT, “Besides the intelligence commissioner of Maharashtra and the IGP (operations) of NSG, the special director of Intelligence Bureau was also present. We were asked to prepare three reports on response to simultaneous attacks on different urban centres in the country, inter-departmental co-ordination to fight urban terrorism and the strategy to counter homegrown terrorism.”

According to the source, the meeting took note of the Union government’s decision to create regional hubs of NSG, but it was suggested that these hubs would not be able to solve the problems of all the states.

There were three broad recommendations made to tide over this problem. It was suggested that the Union government should fund the capacity building of the states to raise exclusive anti-terrorist units.

It was recommended that each state government should have an exclusive commando unit to tackle urban terrorism. To begin with, each state can have a company of commandos numbering around 110.

The officers also took into consideration the fact that a district collector was empowered to requisition any vehicle in the district to meet an emergency, while the NSG director lacked powers to requisition aircrafts immediately. In the case of a multi-city attack, the NSG may require more than one aircraft and hence he should have the powers to requisition any aircraft. This recommendation has already been accepted by the Union government.

Recommendations on inter-departmental co-ordination in the case of a major terrorist attack on urban centres and on homegrown terrorism were also submitted.

Besides, the recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) in its latest report on the need to delineate three broad domains or areas of expertise for police officers — intelligence, law and order and crime investigation — were discussed.

The ARC in its report said, “As in the case of other civil services, assignment of these domains to police officers should be done fairly early in their careers, say after 13 years of service, and their postings linked to this exercise. While domains would, in a sense, get frozen, greater flexibility in posting personnel who have gained expertise and excellence in working in these domains would have to be built into the system.”

The ARC has recommended that an independent ‘authority’ should deal with matters of assignment of domains.

The Government of India will take a final view on the ARC recommendations.

First Published: Feb 02, 2009 14:16 IST