Karnataka to set up commando units to fight terrorDecember 1st, 2008 - 7:21 pm ICT by IANS
Bangalore, Dec 1 (IANS) The Karnataka government has decided to set up crack commando units to fight terror and instill confidence in the people that the state is prepared to counter any internal or external threat, a top police official said Monday. “In the wake of terror attacks in Mumbai last week, there is a lot of apprehension in the people about the state of security and our preparedness to deal with such eventualities. To instill confidence in them and send a strong message, we are setting up three platoons of crack commandos to counter any terror threat,” Karnataka director-general of police R. Srikumar told IANS.
Each platoon will comprise 30 commandos, with the personnel drawn from the state reserve police, rapid action force and the anti-Naxal force, set up to counter Maoists in 2005.
“The commandos will be trained to counter any threat, be it from terrorists, militants or anti-national forces attempting to disturb peace and cause insecurity in the people through violence. They will be equipped with modern weapons and equipment, including AK-47 assault rifles and bullet-proof jackets,” Srikumar said.
Srikumar declined to reveal where the platoons will be deployed, citing strategic and security reasons.
“These are sensitive details. How can I disclose them? Their job will be to protect people and sensitive places from terror attacks and prevent any extraordinary threat to vital installations of national importance,” he said.
As part of plans to modernise the state police force and beef up security across the state, especially in cities and towns, the state government sanctioned Rs.800 million this fiscal (2008-09) to the home department.
“Modernisation and expansion of the police force is an ongoing process. Karnataka is the first state in the country to have initiated reforms to modernise the police force because our belief is we cannot have first world police with third world resources,” Srikumar noted.
Admitting resource constraints and lack of priority had come in the way of transforming the state police into a combative force, with commensurate support from intelligence agencies, communication networks and feedback from the people, he said the spate of bomb blasts in many cities, including Bangalore and the recent terror attacks in Mumbai, had reinforced the urgency of bracing up for the worst by preparing with the best.
“It is ironical the per capita expenditure on internal security in the state has been Re.0.90, which is far less than what a cup of tea or coffee costs. We have submitted a report with estimates to the government for increased budgetary allocation to enhance our preparedness and strengthen our human resources to meet our requirements,” Srikumar added.
The decision to set up crack commando units also comes in the wake of mounting pressure on the government from a section of the industry, led by IT, biotech firms and business chambers to ensure protection of people and security for their operations from potential terror threats.