Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My interview with KPS Gill

There can be no truce with terror: Gill

To say that India faces a new terror threat everyday would be an understatement. Repeated terror attacks have forced the citizens to question the policies of the government. The worst has already happened to us in the form of 11/7 and it is high time the government bootstraps itself to fight terror. "What India lacks is a proper state-of-the art machinery to fight terrorism," says former Punjab police chief KPS Gill. The 'Super Cop', who has been credited with crushing the separatist movement in Punjab with an iron hand in the late eighties, says in an exclusive interview with Meenakshi Iyer that the war against terror has to be sustained and there can be no truce with terror, not even temporarily. Presently, a security advisor to Chhattisgarh government, Gill has much more to say on how India needs to handle the menace of terrorism.


Q. India spends so much on its security, still there are frequent blasts. Where do you think are the lacunae?
A. We are not well aware of the right ways to tackle terror. One of the missing elements is our technology. India lacks a proper surveillance system and this after there has been a spate of serial blasts. We have been depriving our security forces of the latest technology. I remember the technology we were using 20 years back in Punjab is still being used. There is hardly any research and development as regards this. The police have to be equipped with latest weapons. I am shocked and surprised that today all we can think of is manpower. It is our habit to rely on outdated technologies and remain a few steps behind the other countries in all spheres.

Q. So whom do you hold responsible - the police, the intelligence, or the government?
A. It has to be the government. After all, it is the government which runs the intelligence and the police forces. But that doesn't leave the police and intelligence unblemished. They have to have their own R&D unit. They have to understand that what's going to work in Rajasthan will not work in Chhattisgarh.

Q. Terrorists now are increasingly taking the help of locals. For instance, perpetrators in the 11/7 case took help from the locals to understand the entire rail network. Now what should one do about this?
A. These are just assumptions by the print media. Nothing concrete has come up regarding this. The police have not made any statement, no official has come on television and reported the matter.

Q. There were inputs by our National Security Adviser MK Narayanan that LeT men have joined the Indian Air Force. How grave could be the implications?
A. I am surprised and shocked by the IAF's denial. I have always suspected that MiG failures are not just accidents. There is more to it…There should be a proper investigation into this and IAF's denial is not a healthy sign. Attempts to infiltrate will always be there and there will be successes also. ISRO (Indian Space and Research Organisation) was once in the agenda of Naxalites.

Q. Is there any difference between the separatist revolt of Punjab and the present day terror?
A. Not at all. These mixtures of explosives were also known to us then. They still use the AK-47. RDX has been there for ages now. I don't see any change in the psyche of the terrorist. Just that the funding has increased.

Q. What should India do now?
A. Our bureaucracy needs to undergo a major overhaul. There has been no attempt no tackle red tapism, neither there are any smart decisions taken. There is practically no attempt to change the rules and regulations. A decision, which can be taken in an hour, takes a whole year. But this time, our Prime Minster has taken a commendable step. He has made a very strong statement on terror and this is what is required. We need to implement strong measures. There can be no truce with terror. The war against terror has to be sustained. It has to be fought every minute of the day, every day of the year.

Q. What do you have to say about Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's address and Islamabad's refusal to extradite underworld don Dawood and Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin?
A. That has always been the case with Pakistan. There is nothing new in what he said. Moreover, we have been misled in our assessment of Musharraf. He is not a peacemaker. He is programmed for war, not peace. As for Dawood and Salahuddin, they ultimately will be caught one day. I am sure, because there has been more and more cooperation in the international sphere and India's aggressive diplomacy will make sure that this happens fast. Moreover, Pakistan has to deliver, if it wants to be a part of the international community. It cannot go on bluffing till eternity.

Q. Okay, if you are given a chance to tackle this menace, what policy will you adopt?
A. As far as police is concerned, we have to have a systematic and a long-term approach, which does not change with the change of leadership. We have to have anti-terror cells in each and every state. Technology, as I stressed earlier also, should be better. Our actions have to be more focused and we need to select the right men to do the job.

Q. Whenever there is a blast, the international community just condemns and forgets...
A. At one point of time, they were not even condemning! Now they have at least stepped up pressure.

(Published in Hindustan Times, Zee

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