August 26, 2007Public PolicySecurity

Who blocked efforts to smoke out the terrorists?

Intelligence didn’t fail actually. It was vote-bank politics that triumphed

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Praveen Swami reports that as long as five months ago, Indian intelligence agencies had leads suggesting that Hyderabad was a target for major terrorist attacks. Even as the media lapses into an instinctive it was an intelligence failure” mode, Swami’s report confirms what is now the worst kept secret in Indian politics: the Congress Party reckons that their perceived Muslim vote-bank matters more.

It must be Swami who contributed to this editorial:

Indian intelligence has known since March 2007 that eight kilogrammes of military-grade explosive were delivered to an HuJI operative in Hyderabad. However, for its own reasons, the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh did not allow the kinds of aggressive — and unpopular — policing that the Central Bureau of Investigation and city police felt were necessary to secure the city. Neither during the recent communal incidents nor in response to the attack on Taslima Nasrin by fundamentalist thugs did the government demonstrate the kind of even-handed political and administrative resolve needed to address the deep communal strains in Hyderabad. It is true that successive governments have failed on this count since 1993, when the first Lashkar-e-Taiba terror module formed in the city. This makes the latest inaction all the more inexcusable. [The Hindu]

Update:The Indian Express editorialises along similar lines:

The underlying common explanation is however to be found at the Centre. The message to security agencies everywhere is that between erring on the side of investigative zeal and politically correct ineffectual policing the former is by far the worse offence. No one is suggesting that the police and other agencies be not held accountable or that some form of community profiling does not sometimes bias investigators. But the solution is surely not the home ministry signaling that it is far more important for security agencies to be nice than effective. [IE]

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