More measures to counter terrorism: Home Ministry

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New Delhi, Apr 27: In view of the threat to internal security from sleeper cells of terror organisations indulging in violence in hinterland, the Home Ministry has directed the states to show greater alertness and regularise surveillance to identify and pre-empt such terrorist modules. Admitting that a 'low cost proxy war situation needed to be managed over a longer term,' the ministry has emphasised the critical need for a well coordinated and efficient intelligence machinery at the Centre and the state.

In its 'Status Paper on Internal Security Situation' as on March 31, 2008 the Ministry pointed out that in the year 2007 incidents of terrorist violence in hinterland were witnessed and said intelligence agencies and local police should be more vigilant. It said new mechanisms like MAC, SMACs, JTFI and ISISTs need to be strengthened, to improve the collection and dissemination of counter intelligence. Admitting that the situation in Assam and Manipur in North East region was an area for concern, it said counter-insurgency operations were stepped up resulting in increased arrests/surrrender/killing of extremists. Security situation in Nagaland was marred by inter-factional clashes, it said but expressed satisfaction over ''definite improvement'' in the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Ministry asked the states to earmark upto 5 per cent of their annual allocations under the Scheme of Modernisation of State Police Forces for strengthening the special branches of State Police and revive the Beat Constable system to improve skills for actionable intelligence gathering.

To counter the proxy war situation, the Central government needed to provide more resources for maintenance of internal security and it should be inclusive in the Eleventh Five Year Plan. The states also needed to allocate more funds in the state budgets for plans in augmenting their police strength, number of police stations and improving overall policing, particularly in the areas which are prone to, and are affected by terrorism or extremism, it said.

The Centre also proposed to enhance the physical security of vital installations, important buildings, places of congregations and market places. Security of Railway infrastructure and trains including the Metro Rail system needs to be upgraded, it admitted and said security of various infrastructure projects in naxal or terrorism affected areas should be included into the project cost.

It highlighted the need for effective enforcement of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, National Security Act, 1980 and other relevant laws. The states must also improve the existing police population ratio of 1:699.

The Ministry has reiterated the need for a Central Agency to investigate and prosecute the select cases of terrorism and other related crimes, with the support of and in coordination with the state police concerned.

It also stressed that local community leaders should participate to prevent terrorist activities and no particular community be held responsible for anti-national activities of a few fringe individuals.

The Central government would continue to coordinate with the states and closely monitor the internal security situation in the country and provide all possible assistance to supplement their efforts and resources, in successfully managing the challenges and threats to the internal security and law and order situation in the country.

Moreover, a mechanism for coordination and support on security related issues in Delhi and adjoining states with NCR needed to be developed, it said.

UNI

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