Saturday, October 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Operation Akshardham: an assessment

Flushing out two terrorists from Akshardham at such a heavy cost — both of civilians and security personnel — should be viewed more with concern and less with satisfaction. The reasons are obvious. These days such a situation can arise anywhere anytime, therefore not only the guards present at the targeted area should be vigilant but the government also must put in place an effective mechanism that would overcome such a crisis situation with perfection.

A federal specialised force may be used only when a grave threat is posed. In the present situation, where only two or three terrorists were calling the shots, there was no reason to summon the NSG or the Army. The specialised force of the state could have done the same task.

However, viewing the police deployed in Akshardham one was ashamed to notice that police personnel had no idea how to cordon, or to block the escape route or to use prophylactic fire. Nobody used the field craft — covering, observing, identifying and correct aiming.

Even the operation launched by the NSG was faulty. First, the task that could have been performed by a team/squad or maximum by a squadron was led by the Force Commander himself. Suppose the terrorist organisation had plans to strike simultaneously at other places, with the Force Commander having gone out, who would have coordinated other operations?

Thus playing into the hands of the terrorists, the principle of surprise and optimum force too has been flouted. It would have been visualised by the Task Force Commander that the terrorists were watching them from a hidden place and as such a frontal attack on them would have been suicidal. A ruse should have been applied; terrorists kept engaged frontally and assaulted from flanks or their rear.


This is the bane of the security forces that the senior commanders always try to steal the thunder and do not allow the junior leadership to perform the task they are trained for and in the bargain they always land up in such fiascoes.

The killing of Subedar Suresh Yadav goes on to further prove that the assessment and plan of action made by the Force Commander was totally faulty. Losing its bread-winner is a grave loss for a family, but graver is the loss of a soldier in the circumstances — wherein he obeyed an order that was to lead him to sure death. The Force Commander would not have spared the Squadron Commander if the same casualty had occurred under his command. Who is going to question the Force Commander for his poor judgement and badly conducted operations?

Because, if the ratio continues to be 2:40, terrorism in the country will never cease. This ratio has to be reversed by putting right officers at right places at the right time. Imagine 7,000 NSG commandos only waiting for such a task and landing themselves in the 2:4 (of their own) when the time comes. We need to learn from the British SAS (strength only 250) or seals (strength 700) — lean, meaningful and purposeful. Could anyone ever repeat the raid on Entebbe by Israeli commandos, thousands of kilometres away under the command of a lieutenant colonel — with all five terrorists killed, no own casualties and all hostages freed, and above all no media briefings and no applause or medals? It is never too late to learn.

ANJU CHADHA, Ferozepur

NSG action: The use of NSG black cat commandos was done to capture or eliminate the terrorists. The action of the black cat commandos has been much appreciated as a daring act to crush the terrorists.

However it needs to be analysed as to why this elite force could not capture or incapacitate the terrorists holed up in the temple, rather than killing the two terrorists. I am sure that this elite force is trained for such a job. The country needs to be informed about such shortcomings.

Col KARAMINDER SINGH (retd), Patiala


Welcome steps

This has reference to the measures announced by Delhi Transport Minister Ajay Maken to streamline the city’s bus services in a disciplined and cost-effective manner in interest of all concerned including travellers and the Delhi Transport Corporation. Steps such as coordinating the routes with fixed time-table, jumping crews will induce discipline, cost-effectiveness, and better utilisation of the fleet to the best advantage of users.

The Centre and the State should also take steps to remove encroachments from roads and footpaths of Delhi. Responasibility should be fixed on one single agency, say, Delhi Traffic Police.



Tame the police

News items of police torture are very frequent. The Punjab Police cannot be said to be always inefficient but its character is of an aggressive force. Policemen are really expert in encounters, real as well as fake. No investigation is done at a scientific level. It is the rod and filthy language which is put to service in all respects.

The worst part comes to fore when the police authorities take upon themselves the duty of settling civil disputes, though the cases may be pending before courts. They use all means, mostly foul to favour the party which has approached them. The opposite party is humiliated and tortured. Complaints to the higher authorities go unheeded. This force should be made to refrain from settling civil disputes.

The revenue authorities are also not helpful to the people they come in contact with. Many Deputy Commissioners may not have even seen the revenue copying agencies and record rooms which are under their control. Patwaries are really a terror to the agriculturist. The Revenue Department as a whole became a terror to the Punjab Vigilance Bureau when the premises of the revenue authorities were raided to check corruption and the revenue authorities threatened the personnel of the Vigilance Bureau to disclose the assets acquired by them.

The public has everyday dealings with the police and revenue departments. The public will not get any solace due to anti-corruption measures adopted by the Chief Minister only until and unless these departments are tamed.


VIP treatment

Apropos of the editorial IPS officer in police net (Sept 30), the VIP treatment given to Mr R.K. Sharma is not surprising. The likes of Mr Sharma belong to a privileged class, the children of a greater God.

Elsewhere in the same editorial you have said. “The law should be allowed to take its course” This is wishful thinking. The system will not allow this to happen.

How many VIPs who have been accused of corruption and misconduct in the last 50 years or so have been convicted and sent to jail?

M.K. BAJAJ, Yamunanagar

Porters’ plight

The other day I had gone to the Shimla vegetable market. Sacks of vegetables were being brought in by porters. When payments were made, each porter got Rs 10 only. When asked as to why only Rs 10, the reply I got was “it was a sack of just 42 kg of cauliflower. Had it been a 50 kg sack, I would have earned Rs 15”.

Why don’t we give a little thought to these porters and their plight? The local municipality or perhaps the Labour Department can provide them with small two-wheeled carts on loan. This may lessen their back-breaking burden.


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