UP is an easy target for terrorists, say security experts

UP is an easy target for terrorists, say security experts
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First Published: Sat, Nov 24 2007. 12 31 AM IST
Updated: Sat, Nov 24 2007. 12 31 AM IST
New Delhi: Hours after serial bomb blasts at civil courts in three Uttar Pradesh cities killed at least 12 people, including two lawyers, chief minister Mayawati blamed the Centre for its failure to alert the state, but security experts said the suspected terror strikes exposed the vulnerability of the country’s largest state once again.
“It is unfortunate that the state government had no prior knowledge, nor was it alerted by the central intelligence agencies, which are responsible for giving prior information about terrorist incidents,” Mayawati said in Lucknow, one of the three targeted cities, along with Varanasi and Faizabad.
“This is proof of complete failure of the central intelligence agencies.”
On Wednesday, Union minister of state for home affairs Sriprakash Jaiswal had told Parliament otherwise. “The Union government has been sensitizing state governments about the activities of ISI. Periodic coordination meetings are held with the state governments for sharing inputs from various quarters as well as devising strategies,” he told lawmakers in response to a question on the subversive activities of Pakistan intelligence agency Inter Services Intelligence, or ISI, in the state.
Friday’s blasts occurred barely a week after lawyers roughed up three militants alleged to belong to terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed while being produced before a court in Lucknow. “Militants choose their targets according to opportunities available and the projection they would get,” said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Delhi-based NGO, Institute for Conflict Management, which provides consultancy to governments on terrorism and internal security.
“There’s little risk in planting bombs outside court buildings, especially in Uttar Pradesh, where the state government itself says 34 of 70 districts have been penetrated by terrorists,” Sahni said.
The state has “much worse police-area and police-per-10,000-people ratios than the national average, which itself is much below international norms,” he added.
Prakash Singh, a former director general of police of the state, said there was information in the past six months that terrorist cells were spreading across the state. “Clearly, the state government is to blame if terrorist cells are able to establish their bases across the state,” Singh said.
In Delhi, while the Bharatiya Janata Party blamed the Centre for being “soft” on terror, Union home minister Shivraj Patil told Parliament that high alert had been sounded across the ­country.
ashish.s@livemint.com
PTI contributed to this story.
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First Published: Sat, Nov 24 2007. 12 31 AM IST