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I N ..D E T A I L
Thursday, October 15, 1998
Action plan to fight
NEW DELHI, Oct 14 (PTI) A seven-point action plan, calling for the creation of special task forces to tackle the menace of ISI-sponsored terrorism and criminal gangs and reorientation of the criminal justice system, was formulated at a meeting of the Chief Ministers of seven northern states here today.
The meeting, convened by Home Minister L. K. Advani, to discuss the prevailing law and order situation and the need to build coordination among states to tackle terrorism, suggested that old laws be amended to provide effective countering of strategies being adopted by criminals.
For this, legal backing was essential, the meeting felt.
It decided that special task forces should be set up to evolve and implement a plan of action to identify and stamp out terrorists and criminal gangs and to carry out coordinated operations against inter-state criminals.
The meeting strongly favoured that the criminal justice system should be reoriented in view of the problems being faced in law enforcement, especially with a view to countering the designs of external agencies, official sources said.
The meeting felt that there had to be speedier disposal of cases and bail should also be given with due care. It also proposed suitable amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act, the Passport Act and the Explosive Substances Act to make them more stringent, the sources said.
The Union Home Ministry estimated that property worth Rs 2,000 crore was damaged and nearly 34,000 lives were lost in the country on account of terrorism sponsored by the ISI.
In a presentation on the role being played by the Pakistani agencies and their surrogates in India to destabilise internal security, it said Rs 46,000 crore was spent on army and security forces on internal security duties.
While the period was not mentioned, in the presentation on the magnitude and extent of damage caused by ISI-sponsored terrorism, the ministry quantified that 51,810 kg of high explosives, including RDX had been pushed into India and 7,125 Pakistanis and foreign mercenaries sent after training for sabotage.
Of these, 1,750 were still active, 1,120 had been killed, 140 arrested and the rest had returned. This figure excluded 19,000 Indians trained by the ISI in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Afghanistan for sabotage.
The ministry also estimated that Rs 18,500 crore was spent on compensation to victims, border-fencing and raising of counter-terrorist forces.
Addressing the meeting, the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, stressed the need to handle internal security with a firm hand so that the country was not perceived as a "soft state".
"India should not be perceived to be a "soft state", although there should be no compromise with the ideals of justice enshrined in the Indian Constitution," Mr Advani said.
Mr Advani urged the states to effectively counter the proxy war of the ISI and suggest new ideas and operational methodology by which the central government and the states could work to improve the existing measures.
The meeting was attended by the chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan and the Finance Minister of Punjab.
Taking part in the deliberations, the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, urged the Centre to liberally help the state to enable it to beef up security in the border areas adjoining Jammu and Kashmir.
He also thanked the Centre for agreeing to bear the expenses on the hiring of helicopter to undertake reconnaissance and intensify vigil in the border areas.
Mr Dhumal also urged the Centre to bear the expenditure on account of the deployment of paramilitary forces on the border areas of Himachal, which the Centre had agreed to in principle, a state government note said.
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bansi Lal stressed the need to constitute a special task force for the NCR to coordinate investigation of serious crimes.
"Coordination between the police forces of neighbouring states needs to be strengthened and there is also need to improve the communication system throughout the NCR," he said.
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