Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cops busy guarding VIPs from Maoists

29 Aug 2007, 0033 hrs IST,Jinka Nagaraju,TNN

HYDERABAD: Terrorists have been able to strike at will in Andhra Pradesh because the state security policy is geared to protect the VVIPs from Naxals, and not the common people from subversives, say senior police officials.
As a result, while the counter-intelligence wing, whose job it is to tackle terror threats, is understaffed and ill-trained, the anti-Naxal wing is flush with money and manpower. This complete negligence of the counter-intelligence wing has been going on for the last decade, despite central agencies alerting the state since the early '90s that Hyderabad is on the radar of terrorists in terms of strikes as well as developing sleeper cells.

"The entire police machinery, from village to the state-level, is deeply involved in anti-Naxal operations. This is because their targets are political VIPs and powerful people close to the ruling establishment. Therefore, with Naxalism becoming the core security issue for the police, the entire set up is geared to protect VIPs from the CM down to the MLA. In other words, by implication, the common man is worthless and can die by the dozens," a senior politicial official said.

The Greyhound force was raised in 1989 to combat Maoist violence and protect VVIPs from Left-wing terrorists. The force gets special incentives and a huge budgetary support from the political machinery that is liberal in arming the unit with manpower and money as it is their lives that it protects.

However, similar arrangement hasn't been made for the counter-intelligence wing. "Of the total 80,000-odd police force in the state, only about 30,000 are of the armed and special police wings. From these numbers, regular personnel are deputed as personal security for 294 MLAs and 90 MLCs. A huge number is also deployed on convoy duty whenever the CM travels. The result: Not many personnel are left for law and order duty or protecting the common man," the official said.

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