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Indian gov't ready to tackle terror

Publication Date : 17-04-2012


Reaching out to states complaining of the national government's unilateralism over the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday favoured joint and coordinated efforts to deal with the challenges of terrorism whatever its origin, whether internal or external.

"There is no question that the burden of the fight against terrorism falls largely on the states' machinery. The government is ready to work with the states to put in place strong and effective institutional mechanisms to tackle this problem,” he said.

The PM, who inaugurated the annual conference of chief ministers on internal security, did not dwell on the proposed NCTC, saying it will be discussed on May 5, 2012 in a separate meeting, as suggested by some chief ministers.

He warned that threats from terrorism, Left-wing extremism, religious fundamentalism and ethnic violence persist in the country. “These challenges demand constant vigilance on our part. They need to be tackled firmly but with sensitivity. The forces behind them must not only be contained but should also be effectively rolled back,” he said.

The prime minister described the internal security situation in the country as by and large “satisfactory” since February last year for which the efforts of the states and the government need to be commended.

The conference is being attended among others, by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

Talking about Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said there has been a perceptible improvement in the security and law-and-order situation. On Left-wing extremism, he said 2011 was better than 2010 in terms of the number of deaths caused by Maoist violence.

"But we still have a long way to go, both in terms of including people in the affected areas in our growing economy and society, and in terms of providing them with adequate account of security,” he said.

The so-called “protracted people’s war” waged by Left-wing extremists against the state and society continues to target civilians and security forces, and economic infrastructure such as railways, mobile communications and power networks. In the recent past, Maoists have also resorted to abducting foreign nationals, he said in an apparent reference to the Italian hostage crisis in Odisha which was recently resolved.

Stressing that accurate and timely intelligence was a prime necessity for defeating terrorism, Singh said some progress including strengthening intelligence gathering apparatus and establishing of Natgrid have been made.

He said the situation in some of the North-eastern states have remained complex. “There was some improvement in terms of incidents of violence, but there is no question that much remains to be done to restore calm and eliminate extortion, kidnapping and other crimes by militant or extremist groups on the pretext of ethnic identity.”

He said the solutions to these problems lie in strengthening the law-and-order capabilities of the states concerned and in reasserting and rebuilding normal democratic political and developmental processes.

On the condition of police forces, the PM said “no system or structure can be better than the people who man it. The internal security structures of India are no exception. It is therefore important that we find ways and means of improving not just the number but also the quality of our police personnel.”

Home minister P Chidambaram, meanwhile, said there was no conflict between the central and state agencies and that they worked together on the ground to deal with terrorists.

Speaking at the conference, Chidambaram said in 2011, 18 terror modules were neutralised and 53 persons arrested and in the first three months of 2012, three modules were neutralised and 11 persons arrested.

"I wish to underline the fact that one-half of the cases were cracked through the joint efforts of the central agencies and state police concerned. the reality. At the operational level, there is no conflict between the central agencies and the state police forces...They work together, consult each other, share intelligence and, when necessary, mount joint operations to apprehend the suspects. In my view, such silent and invisible work of neutralising terrorist modules deserves as much praise as solving the terrorist cases,” he said. - With reports from Press Trust of India


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