Skip to main content

Govt of India rejects RTI plea on 26/11 terror attack report placed in M'rashtra assembly

By Our Representative
Is the Government of India becoming increasingly unenthusiastic towards the Right to Information (RTI) Act? It would seem so, if a recent RTI reply to a plea filed by Ventatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), Delhi, is any guide.
As the anniversary of the gruesome attack terror attack approaches (November 26), Nayak had sought two reports from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) – one an inquiry held by a government-appointed committee and the other action taken (called ATB report) by the government on the committee's findings.
The MHA rejected the request stating that the information was "classified" and therefore covered by Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act. Ironically, says Nayak, both the reports were declared as “classified” even though these had been tabled in the Maharashtra state legislature a year after they were prepared in 2009.
The first report, by the High Level Enquiry Committee (HLEC) headed by former Governor of Arunachal Pradesh RD Pradhan, and V Balachandran, former special secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, a former Mumbai-cadre of the Indian Police Service, as member, was meant to find out if there any lapses in intelligence inputs provided by the Central intelligence agencies, or in promptly acting or reacting to the terror attack. It also gave a slew of recommendations for future attacks.
The terror attack, which took place in 2012, saw the death of 164 persons, including police personnel and NSG commandos. It began on the night of 26/11 and ended on 28/11. Ajmal Kasab, the only perpetrator who was captured alive, was executed in November 2012, at the end of a multi-stage judicial process. A plethora of facts and evidence emerged during this process showing their linkages with Pakistan.
Refused access to the two reports, Nayak filed a fresh RTI with the secretariat of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly seeking the copies of both the reports. And in less than a month it sent both the reports – HLEC's report and the ATB report – to him. As the ATB report is in Marathi, he has placed, through an email alert, an unofficial translation in English for public perusal.
Providing recommendations, most of which were accepted by the Maharashtra government, the ATB report suggests glaring security lapses during the terror attack. It talks of inadequacy of the “existing machinery/mechanism” to assess “the overall situation” as it existed ahead of the terror attack. Thus, intelligence reports were found to have been “mechanically forwarded” to operational units by the DGP’s office, or ATS or Home department, without “adequate procedure in place for processing” them.
The report especially says, “We have come to understand that the Police Commissioner has not even informed the counter-terrorism squad to report any such incident”, pointing out, it was also found that “the time limits and detailed procedures as well as the level of authority is not included in the SOP.”
It further says, “Responsibility of the State Marine Police is not clear. The Committee feels that it would be impossible for the Maharashtra police including Mumbai police to undertake the responsibility of coastal security within their jurisdiction”, finding the “present arrangements … cosmetic.”
Criticizing the management of Taj and Oberoi hotels, which became target of the terror attack, the the report says, it “did not take seriously the security measures and advice provided by the Police Deputy Commissioner, Circle- 1, and did not implement the necessary arrangements.” It added, “Considering this warning, the committee has taken note of the fact that Taj or other hotels did not request additional police security for their hotels.”
Other lapses include lack of a quick response team to to counter a 26/11-like terror attack, lack of “best equipment” with the police’s Quick Response Team (QRT) regime, lack of a proper “working process” for handling bomb blasts, neglect of carefully established standard operation procedures (SOPs) in the time of such disaster by senior police officials, shortage of ammunition, especially stock of AK 47 bullets, and so on.

Comments

TRENDING

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”