Saturday, July 16, 2011



Permit me to compliment you on your interview to Ms.Barkha Dutt, Group Editor, ND TV, telecast on July 15,2011, on the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on July 13. Like me, thousands of viewers of the interview would have been impressed by the frankness and clarity with which you spoke and by your determination to see that the right lessons are drawn and implemented to prevent a repeat of similar attacks.

2.After the Mumbai blasts of 26/11, I wrote as follows on the London blasts of July 2005: “ 243 posts of Counter-Terrorism Security Advisers have been created since July 2005 and it has been reported that each important police station in London has at least two advisers attached to it. The London Police have established a programme called “London First” in which the Police and the private sector co-operate closely to ensure better security in London. The principle underlying it is that it is the joint responsibility of every one in London to ensure its security from terrorist attacks. Let us have our own Delhi First, Mumbai First, Chennai First, Kolkata First, Bangalore First and Hyderabad First partnerships to ensure that November 26 will not be repeated again.”

3. Before the London blasts, the conventional wisdom was that an effective way of dealing with terrorism was through a good beat system. Our success in dealing with Khalistani terrorism in Punjab was due to the commendable role of the Punjab Police, ably headed by Shri K.P.S.Gill, the then Directror-General of the Punjab Police. He believed that the police should be the weapon of first resort against terrorism. He made it clear to his Station House Officers that he would hold them responsible for the successful prevention and investigation of terrorism.

4. On August 17,2006,, Mr.Gill had an interaction with a group of retired police officers living in Chennai. I happened to be present. He expressed his disquiet over the mushrooming of specialised counter-terrorism organisations which could create a wrong impression in the minds of the police officers that counter-terrorism is not their primary responsibility. A note recorded by me on the interaction is available at

5. After the London blasts of July 2005, there has been fresh thinking on the role of the police. While its role is still considered important and primary and there is still emphasis on the need for revamping the beat system, it is now admitted that the police alone will not be able to deal effectively with modern terrorism sponsored by another state and with international links unless it has the benefit of expertise from specialists and assistance from specialised units. Moreover, the security forces alone will not be able to deal with terrorism unless they receive the co-operation of the general public and the private sector, which is increasingly concerned over the spread of terrorism to urban centres of economic power. It was to meet these additional requirements that the London Police created the posts of Counter-Terrorism Security Advisers attached to police stations in vulnerable areas.

6. I was given to understand that a scheme for ensuring better security for Mumbai through the co-operation of the police and the private sector was started after 26/11, but I do not know how well it has been working. A special task force on counter-terrorism set up by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) of New Delhi---of which Shri Ved Marwah, former Commissioner of Police, Delhi, Shri A.K.Doval, former Director, Intelligence Bureau, Lt.Gen.Satish Nambiar, who was a member of the high-power panel on terrorism set up by Mr. Kofi Annan, the then UN Secretary-General, and I were amongst the members--- came out with a comprehensive set of recommendations in November 2009, which were presented to Shri P.Chidambaram, the Home Minister. One of the objectives of this Task Force was to examine how to prevent another 26/11 and better ensure the security of the metro cities.

7. The serial blasts of July 13,2011, in three sensitive areas of Mumbai would indicate that despite the measures taken by the Government after 26/11 to strengthen the security of Mumbai on its own as well as on the recommendations of others such as the Task Force set up by the FICCI, the terrorists continue to locate loopholes in the security structure of Mumbai and take advantage of them to carry out terrorist attacks.

8.The 13/7 attacks show that either the pre-26/11 cells of terrorist organisations, which had remained dormant, had been re-activated or new organisations or groups have come up with their own cells without being detected by the Intelligence Agencies and the State Police. We are not yet in a position to provide effective security to the people of Mumbai who have been attacked five times ---in 1993, 2003,2006,2008 and 2011. The people living or working in the Zhaveri Bazaar area, an important jewellery and diamond business area, have been targeted thrice---in 1993, 2003 and 2011.

9. None of the intelligence collection and physical security measures taken by us after every major terrorist strike in Mumbai since 1993 has been able to provide effective security to the people of Mumbai in general and of Zhaveri Bazaar in particular. Every successful terrorist strike speaks of loopholes in the intelligence and security cover provided to Mumbai. Otherwise, the terrorists would not have succeeded.

10. Unless we are able to identify and plug these loopholes after a comprehensive enquiry, the terrorists will continue to take advantage of them. There is a need for a comprehensive look at the intelligence and security cover provided to Mumbai in general and to some of its highly vulnerable areas such as Zhaveri Bazaar in particular. We will be badly letting down the people of the Zhaveri Bazaar area if we let them be targeted for a fourth time by the terrorists.

11. It is important to undertake urgently a vulnerability assessment of Mumbai and its sensitive areas in order to provide a scheme for a vulnerability-specific intelligent-cum-security cover. Let us make Zhaveri Bazaar the epi-centre of our counter-terrorism efforts. Let us work out, in co-operation with the public and the private business sector, a Mumbai First and Zhaveri Bazaar First intelligence-cum-security cover and implement it vigorously.

12. The plan should look at the adequacy of the existing police stations for a counter-terrorism role, the effectiveness of the existing beat and patrolling systems, the adequacy of the existing communication network, the need for counter-terrorism expertise to assist the police, the role of the public and the private sector and other related subjects.

13. We should start this exercise today. Tomorrow may be late.

With warm regards,

Yours sincerely,
B.Raman, Chennai.17-7-11
Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi



Krishna Kacker said...

Congratulations for your excellent,thought provoking letter to Maharastra CM,Shri Prithviraj Chavan.
I wish you had addressed it to Shri RRPatil, Home Minister, Maharastra also, since he is directly responsible for the safety and security of the people of the State.
Apparently, despite all good intentions of all, progress on ground after 26/11 has been non existent.This is evident by the statement of Shri Ram Pradhan, who had headed the Committee appointed set up after 26/11 by the State Govt, in today(17/11)'s Indian Express, that the State Govt has not bothered to contact him in the last 2years after he had submitted his report. This shows how seriously the matter has been taken up by the State Govt.
The TV channel, Headlines Today, has been telecasting a serial on the lack of preparedness of the State from the sea.It has pointed out that even the six motor boats purchased after 26/11 are lying idle s the petrol sanctioned for them is absolutely inadequate leading to only one boat to go out once in a week.It also points out to the fact that marine police deputed for duty are equipped with a single pistol for offence/defence at sea against intruders.
It is scandalous that we refuse to learn lessons from repeated failures in preventing such tragic incidents involving the life and limbs of our citizens.
I refuse to believe that these shortcomings are because the portfolio of Home is not with the Chief Minister.The malaise seems to run deeper

Aniket B said...

Excellent Article, Sir. I second your opinion on building Mumbai/Delhi/Bangalore Firsts. Ofcourse, the police or the government cannot get access to intel unless there is a source to provide intel, in the first place. Private partnerships would have many takers but the policy initiation has to come from the governments. Need less to say we do have educated leaders - Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram, Prithiviraj Chavan, et al and same also in other parties...if not educated but capable. I am sure they would have several to ways to tackle the security lapse. What they need to do is instill confidence in the citizens by first strengthening the existing measures and then immediatly thinking of ways and funds to take additional security measures.

Thank you once again for your thoughts on the issue.

Esoteric said...

There is a book penned about Hemant Karkare's death on 26/11.It had raised pertinent questions about the Police forces and their integrity.

The police officer whose role was questioned at length was Mr Maria,who is now heading the 13/7 investigations.Some of the transcripts of the Police communications were not released to the public and also the report was not made public(even though one can easily hear a running commentary of the 13/7 investigation on TV.It appears like a deliberate attempt to keep the terror foot soldiers and their higher ups informed without running the risk of getting using their own cell phone etc)

While Mr Raman has made valuable suggestions wrt how to effectively counter terror in metro cities,but the question is one of who is going to implement them.

There are many unanswered questions and the needle of suspicion is still to be cleared by those in power.

ambi said...

duh. its like u r trying to tell shakti kapoor, how to protect virgin girls from molestation. r u nuts?

ambi said...

mr raman more and more it is clear that this blast was a congi job. suspect Faiz usmani would have opened his mouth in the court of law, thats why he was neutralized in the jail. dont u understand it, or probably dont want to understand this. i said, abhi second half mein muslims ki marenge.

Velan said...

Looks like Gandhi's Nation is also part of the Genocide :-)

balaji said...

Building COMPETENCE is the need of the hour.Our security organisations are simply not competent enough to deal with terrorism. We are talking about a attitude shift and a hours of training required.