In a bid to boost Maharashtra governments war against terror,the Centre on Tuesday approved the purchase of 2,000 much-needed bulletproof jackets and 10,000 SLR rifles for the state police force.
Replying to a debate in the legislative council on Wednesday on the recent serial bomb blasts,Home Minister R R Patil said the decision regarding the release of the jackets and rifles had been taken by the Centre on Tuesday.
Pointing out that the issue had been pending for a long time,Patil said Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had assured that giving the state weapons and bulletproof jackets will be top priority.
In a reference to the death of ATS chief Hemant Karkare in the 26/11 terror attacks,Patil pointed to the misconception that wearing a bulletproof jacket protected one from all kinds of bullets fired from any distance. He also launched a broadside at retired IAS and IPS officers who doubled up as experts on TV talk shows.
They did not do anything exemplary during their days in service, charged Patil,adding that after retirement they were pontificating in front of the cameras. Who had tied their hands when they were in service? questioned Patil,pointing out that the officers were now doling out advice when the government is in distress.
He also advised restraint when it came to reporting sensitive security issues by the media and politicians. Pointing at the coverage of the 26/11 terror attacks,when the Pakistan-based handlers of the terrorists were caught on tape advising them on the next course of action after watching television. It is necessary to report news,but if the coverage helps boost terror activities,then restraint is necessary for the countrys security, Patil added.
He said the state police had procured boats to prevent terrorists from hijacking fishing vessels and these patrol boats,which had been kept upside down for repairs,had been shown on news channels. He warned that the same visuals could be seen across the border in Pakistan.
Patil said urban areas like Mumbai will also see a scheme on the lines of the dispute-free village scheme being launched and added that social associations and sports clubs were eager to pitch in. Stress will also be laid on the community policing concept.
Advising critics that care needed to be taken to ensure that the police force was not demoralised,Patil referred to the controversy regarding the death of a suspect in the serial blasts case after being interrogated and added that he had a history of blood pressure-related problems. However,the death had led to allegations that a person from the minority community had been tortured.
Neelam Gorhe of the Shiv Sena pointed out that the Centre was sitting on a move to ban ammonium nitrate (an explosive used in the blasts) by including it in the Explosives Act,1884,but this had been opposed by the Fertiliser Ministry. Patil said the state will ask the Centre to take a decision on the pending issue soon and added that since it was used as a fertiliser,it was easily available and could be used for making bombs. However,a substitute for it also needed to be found.
Fulfilling a long-pending demand of the BMC,Patil said policemen will be deputed to assist civic officials in removing encroachments and an order will be issued soon.