Thursday, 30 August 2007

Mecca masjid blast: IB warning taken as routine

2007
By Syed Akbar
The Intelligence Bureau alerted the State government on the possible bomb blasts in Hyderabad a few days before the Mecca Masjid and the Lumbini Park terror incidents. But internal squabbles among senior police officials and lack of coordination between the State police's Intelligence and Enforcement wings came in the way of preventing the terror attacks.
The IB issued alerts not once but twice. Incidentally both the alerts came just a couple of days before the blast at the historic Mecca Masjid on May 18 and the twin blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat Bhandar on August 25.
The police blamed the local Intelligence department of not properly interpreting the IB's alert to enable it to act against terror suspects. On the other hand, the Intelligence wing had complained to the Chief Minister that the police or the Enforcement department had taken the IB alert as yet another routine caution.
In the blame game between the Intelligence and the police wings, more than 50 people lost their lives in bomb blasts at Mecca Masjid, Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat Bhandar.
The blasts also brought to the fore the internal chinks among the top brass of the police.
According to police sources, the IB has particularly mentioned that terror elements would strike to create communal disturbances in Hyderabad hinting at possible attacks on places of worship. The State police failed to track the suspects and this led to the bomb blast at Mecca Masjid.
The police did not pull up its socks the second time it received the IB alert, just two days before the twin blasts. The IB alert said Hyderabad and Bangalore were going to be the prime targets of cross border terrorist groups.
The IB sent copies of the alert to the State Counter Intelligence wing which in turn informed the Hyderabad CP's office. The IB also alerted the police on fake currency. The police had acted immediately on the fake currency case as they had specific clues from the IB. But there was no follow up on the blast alert as the top brass in the State and the city police took it as a "routine" message, police sources point out.
Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy, however, said there was no failure on the Intelligence department.
Ironically, the top police brass began the blame game soon after the incident of twin explosions. Differences among the top officials of the State police department were exposed. That Director General of Police M A Basit and City Commissioner of Police Balwinder Singh are at the loggerheads became clear. The lack of communication between both the cops highlighted the ongoing struggle between two lobbies of IPS officials.
The lethargy in the department on the terrorist front was further affected by infighting in the cops. The department is ill equipped and facing sever staff crunch and strategy. Only after twin explosions Chief Minister of the State announced a separate cell for dealing with terrorism. Counter Intelligence supposed to collect information on terror modules have become more ineffective.

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