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Archive for September, 2011

Terror in India: who is to blame?

Posted by :) on September 9, 2011

Sep 9, 2011 15:37 Moscow Time


Photo: EPA
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Interview with Ved Marwah, the Chairman of Task Force, National Security and Criminal Justice System at the Ministry of Home Affairs with the Government of India.

This time it was the judiciary who seemed to have been targeted…

Yes, there have been two or three cases. They attacked the courts twice in Uttar Pradesh, not with an explosion of this intensity – but the courts have been targeted. But I think we should not take these targeting things too seriously, that they’d only confine themselves to attacking the judiciary or the courts. They do this periodically to attract attention – today this is judiciary, tomorrow they will hit some other target and then say that institution is the target. So, this goes on and the basic motive of these explosions is to create panic and to destabilize the country.

Do I get it right that one of the theories of the investigation is that Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami is behind those attacks?

They sent an email claiming responsibility for it and the latest reports say that in Jammu and Kashmir they have traced this email to a cybercafé.

Do you think we can tell a little bit more to our listeners about what kind of organization is that?

HuJI, as it is called, is a terrorist organization, it has links with al-Qaeda and there is another branch of HuJI which is called HuJI Bangladesh which is specifically targeting India. They have been involved into a number of terrorist acts in the past and they all were suspected and in this particular case also they are certainly under suspicion. And there are also reports about their links with some of the Indian groups, which have been created and supported and sponsored by the foreign jihadi groups.

When we are talking about foreign jihadi groups, this organization – Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami – is it based in Pakistan or in Kashmir?

It has its headquarter in Pakistan but it is also headquartered in South-East Asia ‑ in Philippines, in Indonesia; it is spread over all South-East Asia and, as I said, in Bangladesh there is a special section of it, operating from there.

What are its aims?

It seems there were al-Qaeda’s aims such as establishing the rule of the caliphate and destabilizing the countries which they think are their enemies.

From a string of media reports you can get an impression that the number of terrorist attacks in India has been growing. Is this impression correct?

We have them periodically, but I would say that it’s a growing countdown. There were a number of objectives – they want to destabilize the country, to create division between various communities, to demoralize the instruments of the state – all these things they are doing periodically and they have these serial explosions, but the 26/11 attack in Mumbai was the most odious one so far and the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001.

Do you think that recent attacks are somehow connected with the start of peace negotiations between India and Pakistan?

Not so much between India and Pakistan as between India and Bangladesh. Prime Minister was in Bangladesh and, as I said, there is a HuJI section operating from Bangladesh. One cannot rule out the possibility at this stage to say which particular group they are linked to – all this is in the realm of speculation, but that line also needs to be proved.

India is generally perceived as some sort of model society with centuries-old tradition of co-existence of different ethnic and religious communities, but how well-grounded are fears that India could break along sectarian or ethnic lines?

When India got independence in 1947 things were worse than they are today; India is more united today than in was in 1947, all because of the Indian democratic system which gives space to every community, every ethnic group to live their life to the best of their own identity and ability.

Do you in India feel some impact of the worsening security situation in Pakistan?

Yes, definitely, because the Indian geographical location is such that the real epicenter of the jihadi terrorism is at Afghan-Pakistani border and in various other countries around India. Naturally, they are a great source of danger to the security of our country.

How about the assessment of security situation in the South Asia? One might get an impression that it is deteriorating.

I would say that only for the Pakistani and Afghan side because things are improving in Sri Lanka, they are improving in Bangladesh, they are improving in Thailand, in Malaysia, in Philippines, in Indonesia, but I think they are deteriorating in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

And is that the reason why the US has been pressing so hard recently for the resumption of peace negotiations between India and Pakistan?

The US has its own compulsion and obviously the US government is looking after its own interests and they are pressing India, whether they really mean it or they want to please their Pakistani friends that they are doing their best to press India because. It is not that these talks have not taken place earlier, the only thing is that they have not led anywhere because the gap between the two countries is so huge and the attitude of the Pakistani ruling establishment is such that they want secession of a part of the territory from India to Pakistan, which is obviously not negotiable and a non-starter.

But has their attitude changed somehow with the change of the government?

Not at all. The whole Pakistani ruling establishment – the army, all political parties, religious organizations ‑ they are absolutely united in this.

So, just to sum it up, do I get it right that you see those blasts not as an indication of a new trend of the worsening of security situation in India?

Yes, you have got it right. But it is a serious situation which needs to be addressed.

Is there any way the government should act?

The government should put its own house in order, it must put the security establishment in proper shape, it should be able to get their politicians act together in such a way that politics were affecting this fight against terrorism.


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Delhi Bomb Blast 7th September 2011 Pictures & Photos

Posted by :) on September 9, 2011


After a biggest 3 serial bomb blast at Mumbai now a effective bomb went off outdoors the Delhi High Court at 10.17 am on Wednesday. No less than twelve persons are confirmed dead, whilst more than 55 other people are injured.

Union Property Secretary RK Singh stated the blast was of “medium to substantial intensity” and produced a “deep crater” in the Place.

Questioned no matter whether the blast was a terror strike, Singh stated, “It had all of the makings of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) create by a terror group.”

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Delhi blasts: A chronology of blasts in the Capital

Posted by :) on September 9, 2011


PTI Sep 7, 2011
Following is the chronology of blasts that rocked the national capital since 1997.


Sep 7, 2011:

The medium-to-high intensity blast outside Delhi High Court today left at least nine dead and more than 45 people injured and 12 dead.


May 25, 2011: Minor blast in a car park outside Delhi High Court, no causalities.

September 27, 2008: Three persons killed and 21 injured in a low-intensity blast at Mehrauli flower market near Qutab Minar.

September 13, 2008: At least 25 people killed and over 100 injured in five serial blasts within 45 minutes across Connaught place, Ghaffar market in Karol Bagh and M-Block market of Greater Kailash-I in south Delhi.

April 14, 2006: At least 14 people were injured after two explosions at the courtyard of Jama Masjid in the walled city of Old Delhi.

October 29, 2005: Over 59 people were killed and more than 100 injured, including some foreigners, in three explosions that rocked Sarojini Nagar and Paharganj markets and one in a bus in Govindpuri area of Delhi.

May 22, 2005: One person was killed and 60 injured in serial blasts in two cinema halls in Delhi.

June 18, 2000: Two persons, including an eight-year-old girl, were killed and about a dozen others injured in two powerful bomb blasts near the Red Fort in Delhi.

July 26, 1998: High intensity explosion in a bus parked at Kashmiri Gate of Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) killed two and injured three persons.

December 30, 1997: Four commuters killed and around 30 injured in a bomb explosion in a bus near Punjabi Bagh.

November 30, 1997: Twin blasts in Red Fort area leave three killed and 70 injured.

October 26, 1997: Twin bomb blasts in Karol Bagh market leave one dead and 34 injured.

October 18, 1997: One person killed and 23 others injured in twin bomb blasts in Rani Bagh market.

October 10, 1997: One killed, 16 injured in three bomb blasts at Shantivan, Kauria Pul and Kingsway Camp areas.

October 1, 1997: Thirty people injured in two bomb explosions near a procession in the Sadar Bazar area.

January 9, 1997: 50 injured in bomb blast opposite the Delhi Police Headquarters at ITO.

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New Delhi blast- there is something wrong with Indian system

Posted by :) on September 9, 2011

By: Sd Pradhan | SOURCE : THE NATION

New Delhi blast- there is something wrong with Indian system

The bomb blast between the Gate Nos.4 and 5 of the Delhi high court on the 7th September, 2011, in which 11 persons died and more that 60 were seriously injured is yet another grim reminder that our security and intelligence system is not delivering and requires serious efforts to improve our capabilities for countering terrorism. There is a need for serious reflection both by policy makers and by citizens as the latter are invariably the targets of such terror attacks.

This time the Home Minister admitted that a report on 21st July, 2011 indicated the possibility of a terrorist attack in New Delhi. This leads us to two questions. Whether some efforts were made to develop this input to obtain further details? And whether this input was taken seriously by the Delhi Police? The first question assumes importance as now in daily briefings of Home Minister all inputs are shared. Obviously this input must have been shared but perhaps afterwards no further efforts were made to develop this information. One cannot blame the Home Minister for this. Such efforts can only be expected if there is sharing of information under a professional who understands the functioning of intelligence agencies and can direct the agencies for quick development of leads for taking preventive action. We have Multi Agency Centre where inputs are shared but it has not proved very effective in the absence of an overall coordinator for intelligence. Intelligence sharing remains an important problem. When this was realised by the US after 9/11 attacks, a position of Director of National Intelligence (DNI) was created along with up gradation of Terrorist Threat Integration Centres, which had been working under the CIA, as National Counter Terrorist Centre, which were placed under the DNI. This US did despite opposition from the then heads of US intelligence agencies. Today the DNI remains responsible for all acts of intelligence agencies as well as their failures. It may be recalled that Admiral Blair the previous DNI was made to resign for failure to put Abdul Muttalib, who tried to blow the flight to Detroit, on the ‘no-fly list’. The need for such a position is acutely felt not only to ensure proper intelligence sharing and developing intelligence leads into actionable intelligence but also to plan national intelligence programmes and to take decisions on strategic intelligence operations requiring the resources of more than one agency.

The second issue has been discussed several times and the present Home Minister soon after 26/11 in 2008 had himself admitted in the parliament that the responsibility for taking appropriate action by the security forces or police is diffused. Unfortunately, this remains the problem even today. This requires clearly defining the responsibilities of both the intelligence collection agencies and security/police forces and ensuring that they jointly take decisions for this purpose. This should be done at the earliest. The most surprising aspect is that after this report and a bomb blast in high court complex on 25th May, 2011 no efforts were made for parameter security by placing CCTV and scanners. If there would have been a system for joint planning of preventive action, these steps would have been taken and several lives could have been saved.

The continuing attacks by terrorists reflect that the present system is not adequately geared to deal with the growing incidence of terrorism. This underlines the need for reforming the system. The most important question, which readers and my friends raised after reading my article on 13/7 Mumbai blasts, is whether there is political will to introduce reforms or not. The answer to this must be examined professionally. To be fair, political leaders have often talked about it and in the past committees and task forces were created to make recommendations. While some recommendations pertaining to creation of more posts, providing them with better equipment and improving the mobility of the forces have indeed been implemented that improved the functioning to some extent, the capacity to pre-empt or prevent terrorist threat has not been significantly enhanced. The important recommendations have remained only in the files. While the NARGRID has not been seen in the context larger national security needs of connecting them with lower formations, the much talked about National Counter Terrorism is still waiting to get the approval. The turf wars among the agencies whose number has increased of late continue to create problems in coordination. The need for all agencies to work as one force is being acutely felt. They at present act as autonomous bodies only loosely connected.
The restructuring of security structure at the top is urgently needed. However the intelligence agencies are usually very reluctant in accepting the need for reforms. The arguments like ‘do not rock the boat’ or ‘it is not possible to check all the terrorist attacks’ are put forward. The political leadership gets advice from the current heads of agencies. And therefore it becomes difficult to take bold decisions. This can happen only if there are informed debates among citizens and they compel the political leaders to initiate reforms. Both USA and UK had introduced reforms which have significantly improved their capabilities to deal with terrorism. In both the cases there was strong support from the citizens of these countries. In our country it is all the more necessary as very few political leaders are aware of complexities of functioning of security and intelligence agencies.

In addition, unfortunately some of our political leaders have in the past politicised terrorism. Instead of ensuring that we reach to the persons responsible for such heinous acts, terrorism was used to blame opponent political parties. This often creates problems for the intelligence agencies and police.

They start placing limited resources in spheres which are not required. Politicisation of terrorism has to be avoided at all costs. The agencies must explain as to why they reach to different conclusions at different times. As an example we can take up the case relating to the Samjhota Express. Soon after the blasts, the agencies pointed out that the Pakistani based groups were involved. Now they have come to the conclusion that this was the work of Hindu right wing group. Obviously the agencies were wrong at one time. Intelligence agencies need to be objective in their tasks otherwise they can reach to wrong conclusion. The lack of focus of agencies on objective intelligence assessment is up to a great extent responsible for this kind conclusion. A system of strict audit of agencies performance is needed to be put in place.

The need to involve the common citizens in our effort to counter terrorism can hardly be underestimated. If they are made aware of how to look out for “Terrorist Pre-Attack Indicators” and a system for continuous interaction between the residents of the area and the concerned intelligence officials is established, it would be possible to thwart most attempts of terrorists. This has been emphasised by experts several times but so far no concrete action has been taken. Obviously the political leadership is not encouraging to have citizens’ intelligence network.

One reason for continuing terrorist attacks is that there is a growing perception that India is a soft state and under pressure it can be made to yield to any demand. This perception needs to be removed. For this the responsibility mainly rests with the political leaders.

Our strategic interests should guide their decision and not any other consideration. Indian State should be seen capable of taking action against those who are creating problem for us anywhere they are located. For this, real capabilities need to be built. Unless the terrorists and their supporters know that Indian State is capable to inflict unacceptable damage to them, they would continue to launch attacks.

The changes that are suggested are well known and have been adopted by other countries. We should not be hesitant in adopting the best practices of other countries. The different organizations dealing with security and intelligence would have to be made accountable and therefore they have to be prepared to accept supervision not only of parliament but also some professional body. And this has to be done despite opposition from the agencies. This certainly requires sound and strong leadership at the political level. –Times of India

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Posted by :) on September 9, 2011

The blast outside the Delhi High Court, which has claimed lives and injured many, is a cowardly act. It is also shocking that the blast took place when Parliament is in session. Our intelligence agencies appear crippled in the fight against terror. But once again, we will hear the political class making routine statements. The time to act has arrived. The U.S. has successfully contained terrorism after 9/11. We have many lessons to learn.

N.R. Ramachandran, Chennai

Another incident of terror that has shocked India. Terrorism seems to have deep roots and our cities are increasingly becoming vulnerable to attacks. The latest incident is a reminder that there are deficiencies in the working of our national security apparatus.

Arjun R. Shankar, Thiruvananthapuram

After a series of terrorist attacks, the choice of areas for these to happen is becoming clearer — venues where there is a large gathering. What are the steps being taken to protect the public?

Vivek Mishra, New Delhi

It is a sad reflection on the state of our intelligence agencies that notwithstanding the existing security apparatus, blasts occur at regular intervals. It only shows that India is slowly becoming a soft target for acts of terror. There is little or no purpose in identifying the culprits when there is a lack of political will and a fool-proof mechanism in place to prevent such attacks in the first place.

We are increasingly becoming frustrated with routine statements such as “a cowardly act,” “we will take steps” and other catchy phrases after such incidents. There has to be an all-party political meet to forge steps in tackling terror. A united political front is the first step in combating terror, which has to be considered as a national issue.

Sakunthala Seshanna, Bangalore

Soon, the festive season will arrive and major cities might face threats. We do not realise that after 9/11, the U.S. has never faced another situation of terror. There can be many hands behind a terror plot and we must find methods to find the clues. Perhaps, we need international help.

Daniel Varghese, Thiruvananthapuram

We are just not prepared to tackle acts of terror. I do not want to blame the police or the intelligence agencies as they have to overcome many odds while carrying out their duties.

The time has come to have small anti-terror training sessions (drills) organised by the local municipality/police. As the concept of conscription does not exist in India, we seem to be driven by fear. Whenever blasts or terror strikes happen, we suffer. Citizens should also be quick to report suspicious activities to the law enforcement agencies.

V.V. Ravi Kishore, Antwerp, Belgium

The life of the common man is still not secure. There will be many images of the victims of terror, grieving families and never ending pain all over the media, but no answers.

Shivani Mehrotra, Lucknow

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