'Unified command was missing during 26/11 attacks'



Ahmedabad: Former Mumbai Fire chief Pratap Karguppikar on Monday said that absence of unified command and lack of quality safety equipment led to the death of several police officials in 26/11 terror attacks.

Pointing out that a unified command was missing during the terror attacks, he said a standard operating procedure (SOP) for coordination involving the first responders will help fight terror attacks better.

"During a terrorist attack, there is a little time to regroup. There is a need for a SOP among all first responders and coordination for a unified wireless communication," Karguppikar said.

He was addressing participants at a two-day workshop on Fire Safety at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar today.

Karguppikar was one of the first responders who had rushed to Taj Mahal hotel and other locations during the November 26, 2008 terror strikes.

"The whole idea is that - what is happening at ground zero, who is fighting what at what level, what is happening at the other parts and whether there are any equipment required - these information has to go to a particular command very correctly," he said.

Karguppikar expressed the need to analyse minute-to-minute assessment at a command centre rather than the ground zero.

Recalling the issues faced during terror attacks, he said, "Such a unified command was missing in the Mumbai terrorist attacks."

"Police were doing their duty, fire services were doing their own duty and so were the other government officials, but there was no communication between all these," he pointed out.

Karguppikar proposed that arrangements should be made to provide first responders with equipment like good communication systems, bullet-proof jackets among others in such emergencies.

"If that happens there will be fewer chances of injuries or deaths for the first responders. If there had been good equipment promptly available, police officers like Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar and Hemant Karkare among others would not have died," he added.

PTI