B’desh, Nepal new terror routes: P Chidambaram

(Daily Pioneer): Painting an alarming picture on new security challenges facing the nation, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday raised concern over the situation along the International Border and the LoC in the West and said infiltrators were using new routes via Nepal and Bangladesh.

Detailing the internal security scenario in his opening remarks at the annual conference of Chief Ministers’ on internal security on Monday, he said, “Every week has witnessed attempts to infiltrate into India and new routes appear to have been opened via Nepal and Bangladesh.”

“At the last conference, I had cautioned that there was no let-up in the attempts to strike terror whenever there was an opportunity. The International Border and the Line of Control in the West continue to remain vulnerable, he said. Confirming the role of radical groups within India behind the 13/7 Mumbai and Delhi High Court blasts, the Home Minister expressed concern on

the rise of support groups connected to “religion or sect” to advocate for the accused to hamper investigations.

Referring to the twin blasts, the Home Minister said, “The chilling facts are that the principal suspects in the two cases are Indian nationals; they operated across States; and many of them had no previous criminal record. I have to conclude, regretfully, that thanks to radicalisation, there are many Indian groups which have acquired the capacity to carry out terror attacks.”

However, unlike in the past when he openly talked about ‘saffron terror,” Chidambaram stopped short of naming any jihadi groups like Indian Mujahideen. Praising investigators for neutralising the terror modules in several cases, the Home Minister blamed the certain support groups for rallying for the accused persons and thus by hampering the investigation.

“What is a cause of worry, however, is that, in practically every case, a small section of the people springs to the support of persons who are detained for interrogation or arrested and charged. There is no apparent reason for such support other than the affinity of religion or sect. This is a dangerous trend and makes the task of the investigating agencies more difficult,” said Chidambaram.

Describing the new patterns adopted by Leftwing ultras, Chidambaram cautioned that, these groups are now entering into urban areas and using all sort of frontal organisations to galvanise support.

“The challenge of Left-wing extremism has been compounded by the capacity of the CPI(Maoist) to promote a number of front organisations and win the support of civil society groups. They use every instrument that is available in a democracy — from freedom of speech to bandhs to judicial remedies. Several urban areas have emerged as new centres of pro-Maoist activities. Even while we continue with the two-pronged strategy, it is necessary to find ways and means to blunt the propaganda offensive launched by the CPI(Maoist),” he said.

Chidambaram said several urban areas have emerged as new centres of pro-Maoist activities and there was a necessity to find ways and means to blunt the propaganda offensive launched by the CPI(Maoist). “Two States are very badly affected, four States are affected and three States are within the arc of influence of the CPI(Maoist). Assam has emerged as the new theatre of Maoist activity. There are also inputs about links of CPI(Maoist) with insurgent groups in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh,” he said.

Chidambaram said an overview would lead to the conclusion that violence had declined in 2011 but cautioned that behind these figures lay a more worrying narrative — which is the spread and the reach of some adversaries and their success in augmenting their weaponry and their military capabilities.

“The target is the Indian State and naturally, every constituent of the Indian State, and, in his offensive the adversary does not recognise State borders. His organisation does not match States’ territorial jurisdictions. And he makes no distinction between the Central Government and the State Governments,” he said.

However, during his 20-minute speech, the Home Minister did not touch upon on the proposed National Counter Terror Centre, opposed by several non-Congress Chief Ministers, apparently due to the scheduled May 5 meeting which will deliberate on the controversial issue threadbare.

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