Tightening security further, the Karnataka government today announced a slew of steps, including bringing in Public Safety Act and installation of CCTVs at all “vulnerable” places in the wake of the blast in which a woman was killed three others got injured.
A high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah which reviewed the security situation, also decided to create a professional separate cadre for intelligence gathering and to beef up cyber security.
As the police gathered pieces of evidence relating to the blast triggered by an Improvised Explosive Device, Siddaramaiah said “all angles” including the possible role of SIMI was being investigated. Senior police officials said the National Investigation Team would assist in the investigation and probe teams have been sent to Pune and Chennai to investigate terror links.
“Police is looking at all angles, incidents that have happened in the past, organisation that might have been involved in those incidents, and involvement of various other organisations in this blast, they are investigating in all angles.”
Briefing reporters, he said, “As you are aware, recently a few people belonging to SIMI had escaped from a jail in Madhya Pradesh and we have information that they had visited Karnataka, so police is looking at that angle also.”
Siddaramaiah said, “The NIA and other central agencies are there. We will keep constant contact with them and will seek all those assistance required, but investigation will be done by our police in coordination with them.”
He said an Act would be in place under which CCTV must be installed by the owners of places which see movement of hundreds people like cinema halls, hotels, malls and others. Noting that Andhra Pradesh had Public Safety Enforcement Act, he said “our police have studied that act and prepared a draft so as to implement such act in our state also. We have decided to introduce Public Safety Enforcement Act.”
Once the Act is in place, security can be provided at all such public places, CCTV’s would be installed and public involvement would also increase, he said.
Siddaramaiah said a special team headed by Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) has been formed to probe the last night’s blast which killed a woman from Tamil Nadu and injured her relative and two others. He said the bomb was planted where plants are grown along the compound wall of the restaurant.
“It looks like they might have planted the bomb once it was dark.” All the three injured were out of danger “totally,” he said. Siddaramaiah said Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had collected information from him about the incident and promised all “possible support”. “We are in constant touch with them. IB team has come, they are also collecting the information.”
The High Level Meeting, attended by Home Minister K J George and top police officials, decided to increase the security measures, Siddaramaiah said. “We have instructed to install CCTVs at all those places where people gather in large numbers and to strengthen security at all vulnerable places within the radius of five kilometres area in and around Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat,” he said.
With an intention to strengthen the Intelligence, “we are planning to create a separate cadre for intelligence, because we have to bring in professionalism in it,” he said. “So we have decided to create a separate cadre and provide them with equipment’s and proper periodical training.”
On the cyber security front, he said, “We are recruiting about 40 engineers because we will need technical assistance.” Siddaramaiah said security was stepped up in the light of earlier blasts in the city and also after the arrest of alleged pro-IS Twitter account handler Mehdi Masroor Biswas here recently.
“We have maintained constant contact with Central government.” City Police Commissioner M N Reddi said, “CCTV footage that we have got is very limited… our teams are looking into it, I don’t have information on leads available from it. It may take some time.”
On the involvement of SIMI module who had escaped from Madhya Pradesh jail and reports of them visiting the state, Reddi said, “We are looking in to it as well.” Stating that no organisations or outfit have claimed responsibility for the blast, he said, “It might have been done by various organisations or individuals. There are different angles. We are looking into all of them.”
Asked about the link to the blast with the arrest of Biswas, Reddi said, “Mehdi is an ISIS propagandist. ISIS is in foreign land and there is no information of its roots in our country or state, but having said that there is no rule that they have to commit such acts with allegiance to one group, they might have acted individually, we are looking at all angles.”
“We are looking at all angles with respect to involvement of various organisations like Aluma, SIMI and several others….” he said. Reddi said the situation in the city was “absolutely” under control. “One incident had taken place yesterday and our teams are on the job to investigate, we are hoping that our teams will come out with success.”
“We will, at the same time, enhance and strengthen security in the central area of Bengaluru and other sensitive areas both in general and also in view of the New Year’s eve celebration.” “New Year’s eve celebration will be limited to 1 AM and large number of gathering that normally takes place in Brigade Road and M G road area will also be restricted,” he said.
Asked about BJP leaders criticism that Congress is soft on terror, Siddaramaiah said, “BJP is politicising, our government is not soft against terror it is a politically motivated statement.” He also denied any intelligence failure, adding that “we had taken all measures, in spite of that this has happened.”
- An Act would be in place under which CCTV must be installed by the owners of places which see movement of hundreds people
- State will keep constant contact with NIA and other central agencies and will seek all assistance required, but investigation will be done by our police in coordination with them
- The mandatory social-impact study requirement may be diluted
- There could be a modification in the retrospective clause that stipulates annulment of acquisition if compensation is not paid or possession not taken within a given timeframe
- Sanctity of state-specific Acts on land acquisition could stay
- The definition of ‘affected families’ could be changed