Sibal disagrees with ARC recommendations

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New Delhi, Sep 18 (UNI)Union Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal today strongly disagreed with the recommendations of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) which endorsed the need for confessions to police officers being accepted as evidence and for tougher bail provisions, and said the Indian system lacked an institutional approach to the challenges of terrorism.

''I don't think that is the way in a civilised society. Even in colonial India, even under the British empire, a confession to a police officer was deemed to be illegal and not allowed as evidence,'' the senior Congress leader said, in an interview to TV news channel programme ''India Tonight.'' Disagreeing with the perception that the UPA government was unable to tackle the terrorist threat, Mr Sibal said no government had really been able to find an answer to deal with terrorist activity.

This was applicable to all governments.

Asked if he held the system responsible, he said : ''Absolutely, the Indian system lacks an institutional approach to the challenges of terrorism that we are facing today...therefore its government, its lack of complete institutional approach, its civil society, altogether has not really understood the demonic threat that we are facing.'' Defending Mr Shivraj Patil's performance as Home Minister, Mr Sibal said ''...between 1999 and 2003 more than 4000 civilians were killed on account of terrorist acts, nobody asked for the resignation of the Home minister then and none of us said that the Home Minister was responsible for that.'' He said the government and the Prime Minister continued to have confidence in Mr Patil and that was the reason why he was there in the Cabinet.

Asked if he saw terrorism as a law and order problem to be tackled primarily by the state governments, he said it should be handled by the Centre. "It is an attack on the defence and integrity of India.

It requires a Federal Investigating Agency and it requires much more than that not just an Agency." When quizzed further on the status of terrorism, Mr Sibal said 'the time has come to do something and I don't know what will be done. But the Prime Minister has already made a statement that there is a need of a Federal Investigating Agency. How he goes about it ? When he will call the Chief Ministers, if at all, the Prime Minister has to decide.'' He said hi-tech security systems would be put in place in most of the public places like railway stations, malls, cinema halls and busy market places.

Mr Sibal said a pilot project was being implemented in the Cantonment railway station in Delhi. The technologies would be proved in the next two months.

He said the technologies were very expensive as the project in the Cantonmant station alone would cost Rs 20 crores.

UNI SH AKJ KP1552

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