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Politics, Police & Terror

Politics, Police & Terror
Highlights

Politics, Police & Terror.Instead of a hit-and-run approach, the political system has to undertake a serious analysis of the situation and possibilities of response and the reality of action.

Instead of a hit-and-run approach, the political system has to undertake a serious analysis of the situation and possibilities of response and the reality of action. But, the government seems to be keen on image management even at this hour of crisis. Telangana Home Minister is still busy claiming that the State is free from terror and Hyderabad is absolutely secure.The persistent terror threat cannot be perceived as KCR government’s failure.

However, pretending as if such a terror threat does not exist for the city and the State as a whole is tantamount to a lackadaisical attitude to issues of securityThe society salutes the brave sacrifices of its policemen even as the political controversy refuses to die down over the Suryapet terror incidents. Though ill-equipped and untrained to face such a menacing eventuality, police has shown remarkable courage and selfless sacrifice to protect us.

But, the Suryapet episode cannot make us ignore the hard realities of public policy related to tackling terror. The hasty responses of political bosses have added insult to the injury. Home Minister Naini Narasimha Reddy is at the centre of controversy. But, the government chose to axe district police chief. Instead of a hit-and-run approach, the political system has to undertake a serious analysis of the situation and possibilities of response and the reality of action. But, the government seems to be keener on image management even at this hour of crisis.

Even after establishing the terror link in the Suryapet incident, the Home Minister is still busy claiming that the state is free from terror and Hyderabad is absolutely secure. Any reference to a threat of terror, according to Home Minister, is an attempt to malign the image of the state capital.But, how can one be oblivious of the fact that the city witnessed many such incidents earlier.The Gokul Chat and Lumbini park bombing, attack on Saibaba temple, Mecca Masjid incident and more recently Dilshuknagar bombing all point out to the live threat Hyderabad faces from terror networks especially the Islamic terror groups including the SIMI, Indian Mujahideen etc.

Why should government shy away from accepting this reality? The TRS government cannot be blamed for this. The persistent terror threat cannot be perceived as KCR government’s failure. However, pretending as if such a terror threat does not exist for the city and the State as a whole is tantamount to a lackadaisical attitude to issues of security.There are two plausible explanations for this state of mind of the ruling politicians.

First, the fear of losing investment if a perception of terror challenge lingers. But, investors do not act based on perception alone when reality stares at them. New York, London, Paris, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore or for that matter any other city has not lost investment due to terror attacks.Thus such a fear of losing investment due to sporadic incidents of terror is unfounded and misplaced.India has been witnessing the phenomenon of urban terrorism.

Terrorists target mega cities as a strategy. Terror attacks on big cities receive a huge publicity for them. The damage would also be much more in magnitude. The impersonal character of the city is conducive for carrying out such acts and escaping after executing them. Hyderabad is thus no exception to this. In fact, the social composition of Hyderabad makes it more vulnerable. It is a known fact that sleeper cells operate in certain areas of Hyderabad city, especially those bordering Nalgonda district.Terrorists find it extremely difficult to strike without the support of local modules. Politics need not come in the way of accepting this and neutralising them.

Politics of minority appeasement come in the way of tackling crime as crime. Terrorists have no religion. Looking at this lethal threat from an angle of hurting the sentiments of any particular community is nothing but questioning the integrity of that community itself. Any true believer of Islam or any other religion cannot accept acts of terror. Political hesitancy in accepting the culpability of Islamic terror group in the recent incident is also a result of such diabolical politics. The ensuing GHMC elections perhaps made the ruling politicians touchier about all this.

Hasty conclusion in ruling out terror link immediately after the incident even without preliminary investigation has certainly contributed to the unprepared police operation. As the government perceived it to be an act of dacoits, the local police swung into action . Otherwise, well-trained anti-terror forces would have carried out the operation. This would have prevented police casualties. The scene, location and the modus operandi of the crime indicate that it was a handy work of well-trained armed group. Still the failure of the administration and the police to suspect a possible terror nexus is certainly perplexing.

The incident and the involvement of SIMI activists who fled from Madhya Pradesh also reveals the failure in effectively ensuring inter-state coordination and intelligence sharing. Despite creation of agencies like NIA (National Investigation Agency), Multi Agency Centre (MAC) in the post-Mumbai period, this crucial inter-state operational preparedness is seriously lacking. Every such incident results in criticism on intelligence establishment.

The security agencies often receive vague and too general intelligence alerts. But, no one can expect intelligence pointing out to exact crime. The gathering of actionable intelligence is of great importance. Bits and bits of information have to be collated and analysed to develop actionable intelligence. This has to be done with unparallel professional acumen. But, despite successive central governments insisting, the state intelligence apparatus is yet to be upgraded to such professional standards.

Intelligence resources are often used to collect political intelligence.The state police, though asked to perform a wide variety of functions, lacks specialised training and modern equipment and weapons. The government seems to be spending more on improving the visibility of police as it is seen as visible arm of the state. The police department suffers from meager budgetary resources whose lion’s share go toward salaries and allowances, leaving little for actual modernization and development.

Instead of addressing the crucial issues, governments respond through draconian acts. One hopes that the Telangana government would not rush through with such a response. Even the police and security policy need to be reinvented in the new state of Telangana. The government should wake up much before those who argued that bifurcation would increase the terror threat raise their voices.

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