Bomb blast, other violent incidents haven't disrupted public life: Top official

Bomb blast, other violent incidents haven't disrupted public life: Top official

The Opposition may have come down on the government for the “deteriorating” law and order in the State following the Church Street bomb blast and other violent incidents, but S K Pattanayak, the Additional Chief Secretary (Home), has defended the Home Department as well as the Bengaluru police, saying the crimes have not disrupted everyday life of people. Here are excerpts from an interview he gave to Sandeep Moudgal of  Deccan Herald:

Does the bomb blast suggest an intelligence failure as Indian Mujahideen (IM) was found to be active in the State?

We cannot blame the attack on intelligence failure. IM is a loose group. Its operatives are always changing and are not known as terror suspects. They get in and get out. I agree professionalism is needed in intelligence gathering. But wherever credible intelligence was available, our police acted swiftly. A prime example is the arrest of a suspected IM operative just when he was boarding a flight to Dubai from Mangaluru.

But there was information that one of the suspected IM operatives is married to a Pakistani woman and visited that country regularly to meet his in-laws. He is said to have received training in Pakistan and met handlers in Karachi. Wasn’t there any intelligence on this person? 

Our government doesn’t keep tabs on individuals just because they have married a foreign national. Besides, Bhatkal is a peaceful town except for one or two suspected terrorists from there. We have acted as and when there was information. We are continuously monitoring the suspects. 

In the wake of the Church Street blast, has the government revived its demand for a commando unit of the National Security Guard (NSG) in Bengaluru? Yes, we are actively pursuing the demand for an NSG unit. The Centre has responded positively.

On modernising the police force. 

The police force needs to be modernised as most of their arms and ammunition have become obsolete. We recently placed an order of Rs seven crore with the State Trading Corporation of India Ltd to procure armaments in bulk. They will be mostly AK-47s, bullets and other such materials. We already spent Rs five crore in 2013-14 to provide fresh gear and boots to the police.

What about the shortage of police personnel? 

Yes, the State police are an ageing force. Nearly 5,000-6,000 police personnel retire every year. We are recruiting 8,500 constables and 263 sub-inspectors. In the second phase, an equal number of personnel will be recruited. That phase is in the advanced stage of clearance and will begin shortly. 

Communal flare-ups are on the rise, the latest being the mob violence over the alleged molestation of an underage schoolgirl in Bengaluru.

As per the statistics of our department, the number of communal flare-ups have remained unchanged over the past few years. Mohalla committee meetings were held ahead of major festivals. But there indeed are some mischievous elements. The police are tackling the situation swiftly and arresting people from both the communities. In the latest case, pent-up emotions over the girl’s molestation acquired communal overtones.

Rapes and molestations are increasing. Your thoughts?

Bengaluru is a growing city. There is more awareness here compared to other parts of the country, hence more incidents are being reported.

The Opposition claims the law and order is deteriorating. 
I have nothing to do with politics or political statements. By and large, the entire State is peaceful. The government has done well in checking crimes.