‘Terror battle far from over’
The battle against terror is far from over. Even as the city observes the first anniversary of the serial train blasts, Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister RR Patil said there were no easy answers to tackle terror.
"Just before the 7/11 blasts, the police foiled terror attempts by raiding huge cache of explosives. But, the terrorists succeeded the next time," Patil told HT on the eve of the first anniversary of the serial blasts that rocked Mumbai on July 11 last year. "Given the terror scenario across the world, this conflict will continue," he said.
And, while the Deputy Chief Minister may not spell it out, the average Mumbaiite will have to live with the insecurities.
Last year, 187 people lost their lives and 827 were injured when seven bombs ripped through Mumbai’s lifeline, the suburban railway.
"The financial capital of the country has always been a terror target and hence vulnerable. However, in the last one year other areas in the state have also been the target of terrorists," Patil added.
Saying that the blasts were one of the tough moments in his tenure as the home minister, Patil added that post-blasts his department has made policy changes to combat terror. However, experts have criticised the Home Department’s efforts in dealing with security threat.
"The government reacts to events but there is no long-term vision or planning to tackle terrorism. The intelligence network of the state is poor. State’s investment in security networks has to be hiked," said Madhav Godbole, former Union home minister.
He said a federal agency should tackle and coordinate terror links across the country and overseas.
Former chief secretary V Ranganathan too stressed on intelligence networks instead of only surveillance. "Strong information network is critical for the state police. In the current scenario, intelligence postings should be made prestigious. The Intelligence Bureau of the state is weak," said Ranganathan.
He also added that the state needed better coordination and liasoning to pick leads from the agencies such as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Interpol, Intelligence Bureau (IB), Customs and Immigration.