Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fighting Terror

On 13.7.11, we had one more terror attack.In Mumbai.Since 1993, more than 500 innocents have been killed in Mumbai alone.
With every such attack, following events take place within a span of fortnight.
1.Frenzy in the print & electronic media - 48 hours
2.VIP visits at terror sites - 3 days
3.VIP's declaring their resolve to fight this menace and advising populace to maintain calm- 3 days
4.Investigating agencies start leaking several "leads" to media - one week
5.Police starts rounding up " suspects"- one week
6.News paper editiorials,articles & TVchannels discuss various " failures".Experts give opinions on things that should be or should not be done.- one week
7.Politics takes over.Blame games at their pick - 10 days
8.Only print media reports the progress.On inside pages.- TV channels report progress through tickers - 10 days
9.Weeklies, Fortnightlies bring out special editions or publish this as " cover story"-15 days
10.Memory lapse occurs among people,media,politicians and senior police echelons.Only the poor " case handlers" are left holding the baby.- 15 days.
11.Ordinary citizens await next terror strike.- from a fortnight onwards.

We can not prevent ALL terror attacks.Thus spake Rahul Gandhi.He is right.But the present government headed by his party could and should do atleast following.It is not rocket science.

1.Suspend concerned senior police and intelligence officials.
2.Set the precedent for concerned State Home Minister to put in resignation
3. Advise central home ministry to publish first status report on the attack in 30 days.To be followed with series of monthly status reports till the guilty are caught and punished, for all the terror attacks since march 1993.Punish those who fail to do so.
4.Declare that NIA [ National Investigating Agency] is a FEDERAL INVESTIGATING AGENCY,is autonomous and is empowered to investigate all cases of terror attacks across the country.
5.5.5 lakh police posts are lying vacant.Don't fill them up as " crash" programme.Develop 3 years training programme for a new cadres of " Intelligence officers".Reserve minimum 1lakh posts for this cadre.Recruit 1 lakh graduates, screening them for fitness and attitude.Reserve 15 % for minorities.Tell them that they are being taken in as trainees [ at a fixed stipend] for 3 years.Tell them that they will be absorbed as " Intelligence officers" after training and they will RETIRE as Intelligence officials only.They will never wear uniforms or display weapons.This is needed , as policemen in uniforms are not ready to shed them for a facelss[ and thank less] existence as lowly " spies". Problem with ground level intelligence gathering is this unwillingness of a cop to be a spy.Let him not be.
6Train, assess, apprise in 12 stages during 3 years.Keep removing bottom 10 % every year.This way at the end of 2 yrs, you will have 80000 trained personnel.Ready to be posted at sensitive police stations.Train,assess,apprise in 3 stages during this last year of " Hands on" training.Remove bottom 10%.Now you will have 70,000 trained personnel, who need to be absorbed in new cadres, created for them.Promotions and increaments should be linked to performances, with proviso for punishment.They should be placed in higher scales,since they will take the risks of being punished.Repeat this exercise after 3 years, based on the needs and success of the project.
7.Remaining vacant posts [ 4.5 lakhs] too should be filled in less than year.They too should be taken in as 3 years trainees, with proviso for removing bottom 10%.They should be trained for law & order and crime control for one year at academies and then placed for 2 years [ for Hands on Training] at police stations.They too should face periodic assessments, apprisals and removals during this two year long training period.Their absorption too should be conditional to performace.If successful, this project should be repeated to recruit additional policemen based on needs.
8.Senior level positions in NIA should be filled with officers from other cadres, who are PERMANENTLY transferred to NIA.No deputations please.Eventually NIA will be fully manned by its own cadres recruited, as stated above.
9.Appoinment of NSA [ National Security Adviser] should be through Parliament, like CVC.NSA should be drawn from the armed forces and not from IAS.Presently his role appears to be to aid the PMO in Foreign relations.That should be changed to Internal security.He too will have to resign in case of a major terror attack.
10.Heads of NIA,RAW,Millitary Intelligence should report to NSA, who is responsible [ and accountable] for both external & internal security.This NSA will set up a cell comprising of officers from relevant agencies.This cell will coordinate for all intelligence related functions.
11.All states should have their,own ATS, ready to assist police in case of terror attacks.Their role will always be reactive.They should be trained accordingly.For quick and effective response.
12.We are yet to hang any one for an act of terror.Afzal Guru awaits the noose.Kasab, caught red handed on 26.11.2008 continues to enjoy our hospitality.No one since 1993 has been punished.Arrests, trials, prosecution and punishments need to be on fast track.Status reports to be published periodically by the home ministry, mentioned above, must give status of every trial, with reasons for delays.
13.Time to launch nation wide initiative of " policing by people".Police stations across all cities must reach out to the citizens in their areas, recruit volunteers [ ex servicemen,retired public servants,retired professionals, housewives, private security personnel...], provide basic training and deploy them for inputs in their localities.This way police will have atleast a million extra hands at no extra costs.This can be done in less than a year.
14.Media should follow their own code of conduct that includes compulsory reporting of the state of investigations and trials for each terror attacks.Print media should have a page titled " fight against terror", where terror related issues are reported every day.
15.PM should immediately call an all party meet, evolve and declare a code of conduct for all politicians wrt to fight on terror.

None of the aforesaid points involve huge expenditure, save police recruitment.Which in any case is overdue.These are issues related to effective governance.[ read my next blog for issues of governance].Can this government do this?

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