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'The attack bears the ISI's stamp' (Interview with K P S Gill)

'The attack bears the ISI's stamp' (Interview with K P S Gill)

Publication: Rediff on Net
Date: September 28, 2002
URL: http://www.rediff.com/news/2002/sep/28inter.htm

Former director general of the Punjab police K P S Gill says India will not be able to fight terrorism unless there is a national agreement to tackle this danger.

In an interview to Chief Correspondent Onkar Singh, the flamboyant former Indian Police Service officer -- security adviser to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi after the riots in the state -- said it was the duty of the State to protect its citizens, and not for citizens to fight terrorism on behalf of the State.

Q.: Do you feel there was a security lapse which resulted in terrorists attacking the Aksharadham temple in Gandhinagar?
A.: I do not think there was any security lapse on the part of the Gujarat police. Terrorists set their own agenda and choose their own timings.

Q.: Did the Gujarat police have any intelligence, warning of such an attack?
A.: When I was security advisor to the chief minister, we had some inputs which said terrorists could strike in the state, but there was nothing specific. Possibly, the conspiracy for this attack was hatched either in Jammu and Kashmir or in Pakistan.

The manner in which it was carried out bears the stamp of the Inter Services Intelligence of Pakistan. One such indicator comes from the fact that the markings on the AK-47 assault rifles had been scratched in order to avoid detection of the source of supply. We have to broaden our intelligence network and for this the Government of India should be willing to spend more money.

Q.: The Gujarat police claims the two terrorists had done their homework...
A.: Subsequent developments do not support this theory. In my opinion they were not well informed about the place. I am convinced that local police commandos should have dealt with the situation on their own rather then summoning commandos from the National Security Guards. After all, they were only two of them.

Q.: Do you approve of NSG commandos being used for VIP protection?
A.: NSG commandos are highly motivated and should be used sparingly to tackle special situations. The use of NSG commandos for personal security should be discouraged. I think commandos from the Central Reserve Police Force or Central Industrial Security Force should be deployed for VIP security. They are equally effective.

Q.: How can terrorism be countered in today's situation?
A.: By killing terrorists who dare to attack the army, police and innocent people. There should be no room for capturing them alive. Look at the example of Sri Lanka. The LTTE had so many human bombs. The Sri Lankans did not allow a single human bomb to escape. They found them and killed them before they could wreck havoc. Now the LTTE has no human bombs. We have got to do the same thing here as well.

Q.: Do you think the NSG should be used in counter insurgency operations?
A.: The NSG has been specially created to tackle some difficult and challenging situations. It is used in specific cases but it cannot be used as a counter insurgency agency. There are other specialist outfits that are well trained in anti insurgency operations.

I would also like to point out here that the misuse of NSG should be stopped immediately.

Q.: How long will militancy go on in Jammu and Kashmir?
A.: So long as we do not act against them effectively. If I am given a chance I would put down militancy in Jammu and Kashmir with an iron hand. Just as we did in Punjab.

Q.: What about the Kashmiri Pandits who live outside the state?
A.: Give me the charge of Kashmir and I would take the Kashmiri Pandits back to their homes with honour and dignity. We would protect them in Kashmir just as we protected the Hindu community in Punjab during militancy. It was wrong on part of (then) governor Jagmohan to move them out of Kashmir.

Q.: When will Gujarat return to normalcy?
A.: Gujarat would have been normal had the elections been held on schedule. I think those who colluded to postpone the elections in Gujarat are also to share a part of the blame for what is going on in the state now. Gujarat would undergo a period of uncertainty, tension and high violence. That is my gut feeling.

Q.: You said it takes political will to fight terrorism. What do you actually mean by that?
A.: Unless you have a national agreement that terrorism should be put down with an iron hand there is no way you can fight terrorism. It is a crying shame that when this government was trying to get an anti terrorism bill passed political leaders from various parties were talking in discordant voices.

Human right activists are only active in India. Nowhere else where terrorism is being fought have such activists raised their voices. Be it America, Germany, Israel, UK etc.

Q.: Some politicians have asked the people to combat terrorism.
A.: It is the duty of the state government to protect its citizens and fight terrorism. People can only inform the police and help them. In the present day when the common man is bothered about his day to day living, where does he have the time to keep an eye on what others are doing? It is the responsibility of the State to provide protection to its subjects.

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