Fewer terror attacks under UPA regime: Shivraj Patil (Lead)

November 22nd, 2008 - 7:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Shivraj PatilNew Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) Home Minister Shivraj Patil Saturday denied that there had been an increase in terrorist attacks in the country under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, maintaining instead that there had been fewer such incidents in the last four-and-a-half-years.He also said that a multi-pronged approach, including better intelligence, is needed to combat terrorism, but cautioned that there should not be any social, cultural, political and economic injustice against any individual or sections of society.

Inaugurating a two-day conference of directors general of police and inspectors general of police here, Patil said: “Fortunately, the number of incidents and casualties that have occurred in the last four and a half years is much lower than those that occurred in the four and a half years before the present period. Yet, the impression created is that terrorism has increased and is not reduced.

“Even if one incident occurs or one person becomes a casualty, it should cause us concern and should make us alert… What is happening in our country should be studied by us to find effective solutions to the existing problems.”

His statement comes in the wake of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) charge that the number of terror attacks had increased under the present Congress-led UPA regime as the government did not have strict laws to tackle terror. The country has witnessed a spate of terror strikes, including one in the capital on Sep 13, that killed scores and left hundreds injured.

He said special security arrangements should be provided for cities as cities are being attacked and were “likely to be attacked more in future”.

He also suggested that states that have seen some kind of terror attacks should take steps to raise a special kind of police force to counter terrorism.

“The best weapon, which can be used to counter terrorism, is intelligence. No other device or weapon can be as useful as intelligence. Unfortunately, the machinery, which is with the states, is not strong enough to collect the intelligence,” he said.

“To control the terrorism in the hinterland, we have to see that infiltration of terrorists from other countries does not take place through sea routes and through the borders between India and friendly countries. The coast lines also have to be guarded through Navy, coast guard, coastal police,” the home minister said.

Patil also clarified why the government had repealed the stringent anti-terror Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). He said the law “went against the basic principles of criminal jurisprudence relating to the onus of proof and admissibility of the confessions, not made according to the principles adopted in the Criminal Procedure Code”.

“It is not possible to have a law like POTA in the statute book. The relevant provisions in POTA needed to control terrorism have been introduced and retained in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act,” he added.

Addressing the top cops, the home minister said: “Terrorism needs be tackled using a multi-pronged approach. Police forces can help. But other methods to deal with it are also required.”

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