Surat: Surat Police courted controversy when it made dummy terrorists wear skullcaps during an anti-terror mock drill.
The incident came under criticism today with the Congress mounting attack on the government claiming it an "administrative failure" and a Gujarat BJP's minority wing leader saying "terrorism should never be linked to a particular religion", even as police defended the action.
The drill was conducted in Dobari coastal region in Olpad town of Surat to check preparedness of the force is case of a terror attack. A video of the drill shows five policemen holding three dummy terrorists who are wearing skull caps.
The trio are also shown lying down, while policemen keep a watch on them. The video ends with the men posing as "terrorists" being bundled into a police jeep after being "captured" alive.
Responding to the incident, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, "Unfortunately the hallmark, the identity of this government is fast becoming a government which is using symbolic gestures, images, comments to create division... It is marked by intolerance which is another reason why it's a failure. It's a failed administration."
BJP leader and Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, however, denied the Congress charges and said, "It's been six months that we have come. Before that the Congress was in government for the past 10 years. There is a need to ask who has given every Muslim an identity of Al-Qaida... Congress, which had massacred Sikhs, is doing the same with the Muslims for its political gains... We do not want to get involved in this argument."
Gujarat BJP's Minority Cell President Mehboob Ali Sufi Baba strongly objected to the portrayal of "terrorists" in this manner, though Surat Police defended their action.
When contacted Surat Superintendent of Police (Rural) Pradeep Sejul said it should be taken as a "pretty normal thing".
"The incident occurred during our anti-terror mock drill conducted over the last five days. We keep changing get- ups in our mock drills. Those were our boys, who were shown wearing skull-caps. Sometimes, they wear jeans, sometimes T-shirts and sometimes this get-up also," he told PTI.
"This should not be taken as stereotyping a community or given any kind of communal colour. It should be taken as a pretty normal thing," added Sejul.
At the same time the police officer added that an inquiry will be conducted into the matter.
BJP leader Baba said terrorism should never be linked to a particular religion. "In the past, no terrorist wearing skull cap attacked our country. This type of act sends a wrong message to the masses and is also harmful for the unity and integrity of our country," Baba said.