HC expresses concern over coastal security post 26/11



Mumbai: Expressing concern over coastal security post 26/11 terror attacks, the Bombay High Court today asked the Maharashtra Government to inform within three weeks the authorities who were responsible for this, so that they could be made accountable.

Justice D D Sinha and Justice V K Tahilramani observed that proper vigilance of the Coast was necessary and asked government pleader Jyoti Pawar to inform, after taking instructions from the Chief Secretary of the State, as to who the authorities in charge of coastal security were.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by the Association for Aiding Justice, an NGO, which sought for better coastal security on the ground that the government had not learnt lessons post 26/11 attacks.

The petition cited the grounding of ships MV Pavit and MV Wisdom earlier this year in Juhu after they drifted ashore. MV Wisdom floated precariously close to Bandra-Worli sea link thereby posing a serious security threat, the PIL said.

The Petitioner argued that if the authority could not detect such large cargo ships then how were they going to detect smaller boats that might be used for terrorist activities in the future. The PIL cited the November 2008 attacks when ten terrorists arrived here from Pakistan through the sea route and killed several people in Mumbai.

The PIL said that whatever steps the government had taken post 26/11 was an eyewash, prompting the judges to remark, "Coastal security is very important. It is because of the lassitude of the authorities that such incidents happen."

The petition, however, mentioned that there was no doubt the government has beefed up the security, but despite all that there were gaps in coastal security, it alleged.

The PIL also urged the court to call for records from the government to examine what steps have been taken to avoid such incidents in the future, such as induction of additional boats for surveillance, as well as matters regarding command and control and coordination between authorities.

The PIL alleged that a comprehensive coastal radar network planned by the state was still not operational.

PTI