PM for separate agency to deal with terrorism

May 17th, 2008 - 10:36 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Bagdogra (West Bengal), May 17 (IANS) Making a forceful pitch for a separate authority to deal with crimes threatening the country’s security, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday said several states showed reluctance to surrender power to such an agency. His comments came against the backdrop of well-coordinated terrorist attacks across India in the last two years including the serial blasts in Jaipur this week and the challenges faced by both the security and intelligence establishments in coping with new-age terror, especially attacks with an element of surprise.

“Creating such an agency will facilitate the freedom to investigate crime which has inter-state aspects. Today many of these crimes, both terrorist and white-collar crimes, have multi-state aspects which need to be looked into,” said Manmohan Singh, while returning from his two-day visit to Bhutan.

“It is not a task which can be effectively discharged by a single agency of any particular state. So I think there is a case and we should explore the possibilities recognising that there is such a thing as federal crime and that investigation of federal crime should be entrusted to an agency which would be fully equipped to discharge this onerous function.”

Manmohan Singh refused to comment on the investigations into the Jaipur blasts but said investigators would “come to a decisive conclusion”.

He added: “Our intelligence structure has not weakened but it is certainly true that new challenges have arisen and assumed a more menacing form.

“The technology of terror has been miniaturised and they (terrorists) also have the advantage of surprise.”

The prime minister admitted there was a “systems problem”, referring to intelligence capacities, but the need was to upgrade them, especially in states where core policing was ineffective.

Manmohan Singh said the objective of the Jaipur attacks, which killed at least 61 people Tuesday evening, was to disturb the communal situation in the country and prevent normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan.

“We have to be mindful of such nefarious designs and the aim is to adopt right strategies.”

To a question on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s letter requesting him to hold a meeting of chief ministers to take stock of internal security, he said he had no hesitation in calling a meet but requested political parties to refrain from politicising the issue.

“I think this is not a matter which should divide political parties. I think terrorism constitutes a menace to our civilised existence and all political parties have an obligation not to politicise the human miseries that terrorists can inflict on innocent citizens of the country,” he said.

“The Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and all political parties have an obligation to work together and to put their heads together to deal with this menace.”

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