BSF not strong enough to guard border: J&K governor

20 January 2016

Coming down heavily on security forces, particularly the Border Security Force and Punjab Police, Jammu and Kashmir governor N N Vohra said the Pathankot terror strike could have been prevented if lessons had been learnt from previous terror strikes, especially at Dinanagar in Gurdaspur, in July 2015.

He blamed the BSF for being unable to secure country's international border with Pakistan because of its limited capacities and said that the country should implement a well-considered national security policy for effective security management that should clearly delineate the role of security agencies at the centre and state and operating procedure of agencies.

Vohra suggested carving out a separate ministry from the home ministry to deal with national security and a separate cadre that is specially trained to handle terror incidents.

Delivering the keynote address on 7th National Investigation Agency (NIA) day, Vohra said the five or six terror attacks which took place from September 2013 onwards via Kathua through the international border (IB), part of which falls in Jammu and Kashmir, should have been followed up as closely as the Pathankot attack.

"If Dinanagar would have been properly investigated, Pathankot, I am sure would have been almost impossible because we would have been able to know the routes taken by the terror groups to infiltrate the IB. I also hold very strongly that IB is not well guarded," said Vohra, who also held the positions of the union home secretary and defence secretary and was part of the Kargil committee that gave extensive recommendations on how to guard the country.

"I think there are issues ... we need to do much more. The BSF, with its present capacities, cannot safeguard IB which is a long stretch of over 200 to 250 kilometres almost including the border in Punjab. It is a difficult area and we need to look at that," Vohra added.

Questioned by an NIA officer who claimed that the Malda riots in West Bengal were carried out by people with criminal intent who destroyed records of a police station so NIA cannot get any evidence to pursue the probe, Vohra said that he had seen such sabotage during his tenure in various capacities in Punjab, during post Blue Star period, and in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The point that you made about certain elements in the state system, whether among the public or the criminal elements or elements within the state police who would subvert the NIA's objectives - by burning records or doing things like that so that when it comes to prosecuting an offence, you don't have the wherewithal, you don't have the evidence this is bound to happen," he said asking government to immediately hand over terror-related cases to the NIA.


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