M A I N   N E W S

Patil sounds Lashkar terror alert
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 22
Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operatives are being trained to sabotage India’s key installations like atomic power plants, oil plants and those in the defence, communication and IT sectors, and these are highly vulnerable to terror attacks, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said here today.

Mr Patil said coastal areas were also coming under increased threat from terrorist groups as the LeT had reportedly decided to use the sea route to infiltrate Pakistani mujahideen into India.

He said this while inaugurating a three-day conference of Director-Generals of Police and Inspector-Generals of Police, organised by the Intelligence Bureau at Vigyan Bhavan here.

"While they also plan to induct arms/ammunition through the sea route, we understand that they are collecting information regarding location of various refineries on or near the Indian coastline," Mr Patil said, adding "there are plans to ‘occupy’ some uninhabited islands and use these as bases for launching operations on the Indian coast."

"Likewise, our critical infrastructure faces a serious threat from terrorists. In view of the recent Indo-US agreement on civil nuclear energy cooperation, our atomic

power plants have become highly vulnerable. Similarly, installations of the oil and natural gas sector, defence, communication and IT sector are equally vulnerable," he said addressing the country’s top police brass.

He refrained from directly naming Pakistan and its ISI but clearly indicated that they were behind terrorist operations aimed against India.

Mr Patil said there were also reports to indicate that some of the country's multi-purpose projects and shipyards continued to be targets of terrorists groups.

"In view of the assessed threat, the government has asked the littoral states to establish marine police stations for which the Union Home Ministry has sanctioned Rs 400 crore for establishing infrastructure and purchasing boats."

"Training of these marine policemen has commenced with the help of the Coast Guard and efforts are afoot to integrate command and control among the police," he said.

Referring to Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Patil said the increase in incidents of infiltration and acts of violence by militants "intent on a well-calibrated agenda" which had "vitiated the environment" there.

"Targeting vulnerable groups like tourists, non-state subjects and minorities, including a high-profile suicide attack....are clearly attempts by terrorists to thwart the political process aimed at reconciliation," he said.

To allow the political process to take the desired direction, he said, "It is imperative that the state witnesses perceptibly lower levels of violence, which requires a strong will and determination to sustain the anti-militancy effort."

Referring to the security situation in the North-East, Mr Patil made it clear that the government could not countenance willful use of violence by militant groups against the common man while talking of peace.

In an obvious reference to outlawed ULFA in Assam, the Home Minister said, "The option of conflict resolution through dialogue has been pursued by the government with all such groups that have chosen to abjure violence. These groups must realise that the people have clearly rejected violence and have shown a desire for peace and stability that alone can guarantee development."

The continuing violence in Manipur and the surge in depredations by the ULFA in the Brahmaputra valley are worrying indicators; and the security forces and the police cannot afford to lower its guard. The close linkages among the UG groups active in the North-East, which facilitate arms procurement, besides sharing of training facilities and shelters, make cooperation between the different state police forces as also the security forces operating in the region absolutely vital," he said.



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