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New strategy to tackle terror up for discussion
New Delhi/ Agartala Jan 3 (IANS):
Published on 4 Jan. 2009 12:26 AM IST
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Streamlining responses to terror attacks, sprucing up the intelligence machinery and improving core policing will top the agenda when Home Minister P. Chidambaram meets chief ministers and directors general of police from all states in a crucial meeting scheduled in the capital Jan 6. The meeting will also take stock of the functioning of the newly constituted National Investigation Agency (NIA). Chidambaram is expected to allay apprehensions regarding the working of the agency tasked to probe and prevent terrorist attacks. 'The home minister has called the meeting to take on some strategic measures and discuss the prevailing situation in the country in view of terror violence in different parts of the country,' said Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar. 'The chief ministers will also present their views about the latest decisions of the union government to curb terrorism in the country and suggest new measures to root out the threat.' This will be the first major brainstorming session of top security officials after the Mumbai attacks in November. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, national security adviser M.K. Narayanan, top intelligence and paramilitary officials are also expected to attend the day-long meeting. "Unlike previous security conclaves this meeting will focus specifically on what states need to do to stamp out terror and how the NIA will coordinate with other agencies", said a home ministry official. The meeting acquires added urgency in the light of the three powerful blasts that rocked Guwahati - two in crowded market places - killing six people and wounding 50 others on New Year's Day. Police have identified the three bombers from the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) responsible for the blasts and released a photograph of one of them. Setting up the NIA and strengthening anti-terror legislation was among the raft of measures introduced by the government in the last session of parliament to improve national security after the Mumbai attacks. Since the Mumbai attacks 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. It was for this reason that he announced large-scale changes to the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) in the Intelligence Bureau (IB), which is meant to collate intelligence inputs, assess them and disseminate its reports to security forces. Terming the bombings in Assam as 'dangerous', the Tripura Left Front government chief minister has also suggested taking holistic and joint centre-state operations to tackle violence in the northeast. A home ministry report has described the security situation in Nagaland, Manipur and Assam as 'cause for concern'. 'Overall security situation in the northeastern states, except the three states, has improved as is manifest in the reduction in casualties of civilians and increase in numbers of militants either killed or arrested or surrendered,' said the report compiling the statistics of incidents in 2008. 'In violence in the northeast, casualties of civilians and security force personnel decreased to 506 up to December 2008 as compared to 577 during the corresponding period in the previous year. In all 4139 militants were killed or surrendered or arrested during 2008 against 2,975 in the previous year.'

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