Thursday, August 30, 2007

15 initiatives proposed to improve India’s internal security

NEW DELHI: A Home Ministry status paper on India’s internal security situation has called for “effective enforcement of anti-terrorist laws, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967, National Security Act 1980 and other relevant laws” to prevent recurrence of incidents such as the Hyderabad bomb blasts.

The status paper tabled in the House by Home Minister Shivraj Patil envisages 15 initiatives to strengthen the internal security system, including enlisting local community leaders to prevent terrorist activities.

Some of the envisaged initiatives envisaged are: well-coordinated and efficient intelligence machinery at the centre and in states; revival of the beat constable system and states earmarking five percent of police modernisation funds to strengthen special branches that gather intelligence at the local level; community policing systems; enhanced physical security of vital installations, important buildings, congregation places, railway infrastructure and trains; and, ensuring special security cover to infrastructure projects in the terrorism-affected areas by including the cost in the project budgets.

While calling for extended initiatives, the paper stresses: “no particular community is to be held responsible for anti-national activities of a few fringe individuals.”

The status paper, which covers incidents up till end-June, reports a significant improvement in Jammu and Kashmir, and says the communal situation remains under control. While overall terrorist violence increased in the northeast, incidents of naxal violence during the first six months of 2007 registered a marginal 1.81 percent increase though the police personnel and civilian casualties dipped by 9.60 percent.

The paper said there had been no suicide attacks in Jammu and Kashmir during 2007 aside from one car bomb attack, which did not cause any major damage, and there had also been fewer grenade attacks. The major successes of the security forces in the state, the paper said, were in terms of killing of 211 terrorists, including 37 foreigners, and arresting 217, with 81 other terrorists surrendering up till the end of June.

The status paper also noted a declining trend violence levels since 2001. “Overall stable security situation in the state is indicative of transition to normalcy” that has resulted in a constant flow of tourists to the state, the paper added.

Cross-border infiltration has, however, gone up since April after registering a 4 percent decline in 2006 from 2005, the paper said. Altogether there were 532 terrorism-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir in the first six months of 2007 as compared to 832 during the same period last year. Civilian casualties during the period dropped drastically from 207 to 78, but security personnel killed went up slightly from 59 to 61. The paper reported that 211 terrorists had been killed by end-June compared to 275 during the same period in 2006.

The situation in the northeast, however, provides a significant contrast, according to the paper. Extremist-related incidents increased from 636 in the first half of 2006 to 810 by the end of June this year, and the number of civilians killed shot up, from 130 to 271, as did the number of security personnel killed, from 29 to 47. The number of militants killed also rose from 209 to 257.

There was not much increase in incidents of Naxal violence, the paper reported. Up till June 2007 842 incidents were reported as compared to 827 in 2006. Civilian fatalities dropped from 304 to 220 but police personnel casualties rose from 92 to 138. The number of Naxalites killed in police action dropped to 93 from 128 in the previous year.

The half-yearly figures of naxalite incidents have been at more or less the same level over the past four years. There were 1,597 incidents in 2003, 1,533 in 2004, 1,608 in 2005 and 1,509 in 2006, the status paper reports. iftikhar gilani

No comments: