Why did state government
take so long to react
By Murali Krishnan
Delhi, Dec 4 (IANS) Two precious hours were lost as marine
commandos waited that Wednesday night for authorisation to
act from the Maharashtra Chief Secretary Johny Joseph. By
the time the commandos got the green signal to leave their
base for Mumbai, the terrorists had already ensconced themselves
in several key locations.
the establishment begins to examine what went wrong despite
the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India's external intelligence
agency, claiming they had given information specifying the
places and the time bracket the terrorists were expected to
attack, the state government's role has come under the spotlight.
sources told IANS that at least on four occasions and even
on Nov 26, the day that 10 militants laid siege on high-profile
targets, including the Oberoi Trident and the Taj hotels,
RAW had tipped off authorities of the impending attack by
sea and even given information of the time.
mandate is to disseminate alerts to the Intelligence Bureau
(IB) that oversees domestic activities. It is now reliably
learnt that the IB did pass on the "actionable intelligence"
alerts to the Maharashtra government.
it did not act remains a mystery, says an official.
a double whammy, it also procrastinated when the militants
struck at 9.30 p.m. on Nov 26.
so it was that the marine commandos - known by their acronym
Marcos - left their naval base to leave for Mumbai an hour
away only late on Wednesday night -- more than two hours after
the militants had struck.
week's terror attacks in Mumbai have once again exposed the
sheer lack of critical connectivity needed between intelligence
agencies and security agencies. We really have to do some
serious soul searching," said a senior home ministry
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not informed about the intelligence
inputs. Officials say briefings from the IB director and the
RAW chief to the prime minister are not so regular any more.
chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta has also made it clear his force
had received "no actionable intelligence" that could
have helped pre-empt the Mumbai terror carnage, even as he
candidly admitted the entire episode was reflective of "a
systemic failure" which needs to be urgently addressed.
really do not know what the state authorities conveyed or
did not convey to the navy for action," said intelligence
to another intelligence official, a failure of this magnitude
occurred from primarily three factors.
was no intelligence information, there was intelligence but
it was not properly relayed or the information was relayed
but there was failure of optimum response," he said.
the light of the intelligence goof-up, new Home Minister P.
Chidambaram has been stressing on accountability, which needs
to be fixed, and on an effective feedback system every time
threat perceptions are relayed to relevant quarters.
has been regularly meeting top officials of the ministry,
including National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, Home Secretary
Madhukar Gupta, IB Director P.C. Halder and RAW chief Ashok
has been patiently listening out to the top functionaries
in the ministry but is in a hurry to see systems are in place
so that the security establishment is accountable to the people
who want to live safe," said a senior ministry official.
the coming days and weeks, the home ministry is expected to
quickly deal with some long-pending decisions aimed at enabling
the government to effectively fight terrorism.
measures would include the need to have a stringent anti-terror
law and a federal investigating agency, massive modernisation
of the police forces and the intelligence set-up and safeguarding