Maharashtra’s internal security plan gathers dust
The Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act, drafted to coordinate respondents to terror threats, has been awaiting legislative approvalmumbai Updated: Dec 14, 2015 17:13 IST
In the backdrop of the recent terror attacks in Paris, France has declared a state of emergency and colour code ‘red’ as per its internal security alert system, ‘Vigipirate’, and has sealed off its borders. Mumbai, however, 7 years after several terror strikes including the 26/11 terror attacks of 2008, still lacks a colour-coding alert scheme.
The colour-coding scheme is one of the proposals pending before the state as part of the Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act (MAPISA), which was drafted to tackle threats including terror attacks, radicalisation and ideological challenges, and to promote social harmony.
The draft has also been chalked to tackle situations involving communalism, left-wing extremism, fundamentalism, narcotics peddling, circulation of fake currency, and gun running among others.
Hindustan Times accessed the proposed draft, which is pending before the state government, and which might be tabled in the ongoing winter session of the state assembly in Nagpur.
The draft proposes to have a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) that coordinate individuals and organisations working for the government.
The draft envisages a colour-coding scheme for Maharashtra on the lines of the ‘Homeland Security Advisory System’ in the United States of America, ‘Bikini State’ in the United Kingdom and ‘Vigipirate’ in France. These coding systems have been chalked down to differentiate various levels of alerts.
The colour coding would help government agencies understand the level of threat perception and devise their responses accordingly.
The draft seeks setting up of a State Security Advisory Board (SSAB), which would be independent of the state security commission, which would be headed by the chief minister, and would include the home minister, the deputy chief minister, the finance minister, the state police chief and the Mumbai police commissioner.
It states that the SSAB should meet every 15 days and discuss intelligence inputs pertaining to internal security which have been gathered by the central and state agencies.
A new set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) in consultation with the concerned agencies has also been sought, which will coordinate many more agencies in case the act comes into force.
The proposed internal security plan also mentions setting up a unified command centre to respond to a massive terror attack. The draft also suggests introducing a ‘security awareness module’ in schools and colleges, so that students are prepared to protect themselves in case of terror attacks.