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

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.

Election Commission suffering from worst-ever "credibility crisis": Ex-bureaucrats

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, a group of ex-bureaucrats have lamented ‘weak-kneed’ responses of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Citing various violations of the model code of conduct, and pointing towards how ECI has taken little action, the letter asks the President to tell ECI to “conduct itself in a manner where its independence, fairness, impartiality and efficiency are not questioned.”