Chennai, Feb 8: Tamil Nadu is staring at a political crisis today. While the crisis is likely to drag on for some more time, it would be pertinent to note that being a border it cannot afford to let this problem drag on for too long.
When a political crisis had broken out in Arunachal Pradesh, the Intelligence Bureau officials said that some elements from China could use this issue to fuel tension. What is most ironic is that the Inspector General of Police in the state intelligence unit, K S Sathiyamurthy was asked to go on leave at a time there was a change of guard at Fort St. George.
Following the death of Jayalalithaa, the state was staring a political crisis in the absence of a successor. However, O However, Panneerselvam, who, like always, has filled that void, but as usual has been temporary. He claims he was forced to step down and make way for Sasikala.
The big question now is whether Tamil Nadu can afford to let this political crisis drag on for too long. The ruling AIADMK is split with one set of supporters backing Panneerselvam. What normally happens in such a situation is that the administration slows down considerably and this has an effect on law and order as well.
The state IB in disarray
With the outbreak of this political crisis there have already been several shake ups in the bureaucracy. The Inspector General of Police in the state intelligence unit, K S Sathiyamurthy has not been attending duty since Saturday after he was told to go on leave. Sheela Balakrishnan, the advisor to the government too quit. Secretaries to the CM, K N Venkataramanan and A Ramalingam too were told to leave.
While these are indeed big shake ups, the bigger problem is with the issue regarding Sathyamurthy. The intelligence is a very crucial unit especially in a bordering state. Any shake up of this nature does cause problems and it may be recalled in the United Progressive Alliance days, there was a time that the IB had stopped sharing intelligence with the government over the Ishrat Jahan issue.
There is already considerable heart burn in the TN IB. Questions such as was he sidelined are being asked by officers close to him. In such an event, officers close to him are unlikely to take the issue kindly and this is likely to compromise key intelligence sharing.
His colleagues say that although he had told them he was going on ten days leave, it is not a routine affair. "Such a senior IB officer cannot go on leave at such a crucial time. There is intelligence that needs to be shared both on the crime and political level. Normally in times of a political crisis, leaves are cancelled, but in this case it is the opposite," a senior Intelligence Bureau official in Delhi informed OneIndia.
Field day for anti-social elements
Tamil Nadu has had several problems where its borders are concerned. There is a lot of smuggling activity that takes place. The state has been a transit point for drug dealers who move the merchandise to Sri Lanka and South-East Asia.
The end of the civil war in Sri Lanka witnessed a rise in heroin smuggling to that country via Chennai. Officials in the NCB say that heroin smuggling is up since the substance is heavily used in Sri Lanka. Drugs smuggled out of TN also make it to countries such as Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.
While drug smuggling is one issue, there have also been complaints about radicalisation in the state. TN has over the past three years witnessed elements from the Islamic State and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence operating in the state. The ISI has set up shop in Sri Lanka with an aim of opening several modules in Tamil Nadu.
The state has been considered as a gateway to the South for the ISI. With the political instability and problems within the IB, there is every chance that elements from the ISI will look to take advantage of the problem.