Country’s internal security situation grim: former top cops

September 14th, 2008 - 8:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Sep 14 (IANS) Aghast at terrorists’ ability to strike at any place in India with an alarming frequency, former top police officials Sunday termed the internal security scenario of the country as “grim” and called for extraordinary measures to counter terrorism.“Does anybody have to say it? The prevalent internal security situation of the country is undoubtedly grim. It’s too grave for comfort. Every citizen of India has virtually become a sitting duck to terror attacks,” said former director general of police Prakash Singh, who once headed Uttar Pradesh police and then the Border Security Force.

“The terrorists have clearly emerged a lot more emboldened than they were a few years back,” said Singh.

Echoing Singh’s view and sharing his frustration, former Delhi Police commissioner R.S. Gupta said: ”The country is facing an extraordinary terror threat and it requires extraordinary measures to counter it.”

“But rather than feeling threatened, the government needs to pull up its socks and create an environment where the terrorists feel threatened. By its bold actions, the government needs to convey the message to the terrorists that it means business,” said Singh.

Singh advocated a stringent anti-terror law, tougher than the POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) that was enacted by the then Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government in 2001 but repealed by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in end of 2005.

“Today we need an anti-terror law more stringent than the POTA, with the provision that any terrorist even with a prima facie role in terrorism is kept behind bars without any trial,” said Singh.

Gupta said: “To know how to handle the prevalent terror situation in the country, ask those policemen who fought Sikh militancy in Punjab and wiped it out.”

Referring to the 9/11 terror attack in the US, he said: “They did it once to the America. But that US took certain actions against terrorism and they were never able to repeat it.”

Squarely blaming the UPA government for allegedly pursuing a mild anti-terror policy, Singh said: “Before enacting an anti-terror law, the government must frame its anti-terror policy, which is not there, and declare it. This government has virtually turned India into a soft state.”

Gupta too sought tough anti-terror actions by the government.

“They all talk of tough anti-terror law, tough police actions, federal investigative agency, but only to score political points. They demand it, when they are in opposition and oppose it when they are in power.”

Singh also supported setting up of a federal police force to tackle crimes like terrorism having all India ramifications.

He also emphasised “the need to galvanise the country’s intelligence gathering system to ensure that the police is not left playing merely a reactive role in the wake of terror strikes, but is actually able to foil the terror plots at the drawing board of terrorists”.

Singh demanded expeditious implementation of the Supreme Court directives on police reforms, saying that the police has to play the pivotal role in fighting terrorism.

“Unless the Supreme Court directives on police reforms are implemented, the police would remain a demoralised lot, working as slaves to the whims and fancies of their political masters. This has to go and it will not go unless the police is modernised,” said Singh.

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