Pak-based terror groups will be defeated: Chidambaram

Last Updated: Sunday, February 7, 2010 - 13:44

New Delhi: India Sunday described Pakistan-
based terrorist groups as "dark forces" which are "implacably"
opposed to the country and asserted that they would be
defeated whenever confronted.

Home Minister P Chidambaram said militant groups like
Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen, responsible for
innumerable deadly terror strikes in India, held a meeting at
Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir on Thursday and it
was clear that these groups were "implacably" opposed to
India.

"Their weapons are mayhem and violence; and their goal is
forcible annexation of Kashmir. Let me make it clear that
these dark forces will not succeed in their designs. We will
defeat them whenever and wherever we confront them," he said
in his opening statement at the Conference of Chief Ministers
on Internal Security.

Chidambaram said there have been no significant terrorist
attack and no significant communal violence in the last 14
months which was a matter of satisfaction but that did not
mean that the country was not vulnerable to terror strikes.

"That, I hasten to add, does not mean that there has been
no violence or that we are not vulnerable to terrorist
attacks; or that there are no triggers for communal
disturbances.

"We must remain vigilant. We must continue the work on
enhancing capacity. And we must reform our institutions and
systems of governance in order to pre-empt terrorist threats
and prevent communal discord," he said.

Thanking Bangladesh for its cooperation, Chidambaram said
many leaders of northeast insurgent groups based there were
forced to return to India and have either surrendered before
or have been apprehended by the security forces.

"Our determined effort to curb insurgency and violence
has had a salutary effect and many insurgent groups have laid
down arms and come forward to hold talks with the state
government concerned and the Central government," he said.

Describing Naxalism as a grave threat, the Home Minister
said the Centre had announced that it would encourage state
governments to talk to Naxalites if they abjured violence but
the offer was scoffed at and spurned by the CPI (Maoist).

"Hence, in consultation with the Chief Ministers of
Naxal-affected states, we decided to boldly confront the
challenge thrown by the CPI (Maoist)," he said.

Chidambaram said there was a rise in the number of deaths
in 2009 amongst civilians (591), security forces (317) and
militants (217) in Naxal-affected states.

"As the security forces move forward to reclaim areas
that are now dominated by the Naxalites, it is possible that
this trend will continue in 2010 too. However, I am confident
that the state governments concerned will gradually gain the
upper hand and re-establish the authority of the civil
administration," he said.

The Home Minister, however, urged the state governments
to ensure that re-establishment of the civil administration is
quickly followed by implementation of development and welfare
schemes.

The Home Minister said in 2009, Jammu and Kashmir and the
North-eastern states witnessed the lowest level of incidents
and casualties in many years.

In Jammu and Kashmir, there were 499 incidents while 78
civilians and 64 members of the security forces were killed
and 239 terrorists or militants were neutralised.

"However, since the beginning of this year, there has
been an increase in the number of attempts to infiltrate
militants into India and in the number of encounters on our
side of the border. So far, 16 militants have been killed and
16 more arrested," he said.

Referring to the acute problem of manpower in state
police forces, Chidambaram said there were humongous vacancies
in the sanctioned posts. As on January 1, 2009, there were
1, 53,428 vacancies which were expected to dip to 1, 38,559 on
March 31 this year.

"In addition, there is Uttar Pradesh where there is a
peculiar situation. In December 2008, Uttar Pradesh had
sanctioned 2, 04,021 new posts and I are informed that the
process of recruitment is underway. The vacancy position
reflects a very unsatisfactory state of affairs.

"There is no reason why the states should not press the
accelerator on recruitment and fill the vacancies. In July
2009, we had commended to the states a new, transparent,
technology-driven procedure for recruitment. Only a few states
have adopted or indicated willingness to adopt the new
procedure," he said.

Chidambaram said it was universally acknowledged that in
matters concerning security there was no substitute for
"putting more men and women on the street".

"That is why I urge you to quicken the pace of
recruitment to the police force in your state. But even as you
add more personnel, some of them must be dedicated to
specialised functions such as intelligence, anti-terrorist
unit, quick response teams, industrial security force and
coastal security."

The Home Minister said based on the responses to the
questionnaire, sent by the Home Ministry to all states seeking
information under 15 heads, it was found that only nine states
and Union Territories have a separate cadre for intelligence
and only 16 states or UTs have accepted the scheme suggested
by the Intelligence Bureau to restructure the State Special
Branch.

"While nearly all states have set up QRTs, six states
have not yet set up an anti-terrorist unit," he said.

Chidambaram said between January 1, 2009 and September
30, 2009, only 139 rural police stations and 34 urban police
stations were added. A further 282 rural police stations and
44 urban police stations are expected to be added by March 31.

While this is slow progress, the average number of
personnel sanctioned for a police station is unsatisfactory.

The sanctioned average for all states and UTs is about 52 per
police station.

In rural police stations, the number varies from 12 in
Madhya Pradesh and 13 in Orissa to 50 in Maharashtra, 51 in
Gujarat, 54 in Punjab and 89 in Uttar Pradesh.

"However, this is only the sanctioned average. Adjusted
for the number of vacancies, the actual strength is much
lower," Chidambaram said.

PTI

First Published: Sunday, February 7, 2010 - 13:44

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