It is an open secret in Hyderabad: an important minister’s son is involved in the drugs trade in the city. The police are aware of this and senior officers have no qualms in admitting so in private. Yet, no action is taken against him though he is also active in illegal land deals. Though the minister is not in-charge of the subject of law & order that such a person continues in the government is a good example of the state of politics of Andhra Pradesh. With such patronage from the higher ups many middle level police officials engage in illegal land deals and’ land settlements’. Though maintenance of law and order should be their job, these corrupt cops have made arbitration inland disputes and aiding in land grabbing their business. The top echelon of the police force is honest, but they can do nothing given the nature of direct political patronage that these cops down the line enjoy. It is in this backdrop that the twin blasts rocked Hyderabad on Thursday night should be seen.
It reflects rather dismally on the state intelligence machinery that they failed to take cognizance of a Delhi police press release of August last that very clearly indicated that an arrested militant had revealed in the course of interrogation that he had helped some militants carry out a recce of three areas in Hyderabad that included Dilsukh Nagar where the blasts took place. The police intelligence now says that this intelligence was not shared with them. This is absolute balderdash because what is a press release is already public (may be they were expecting a note marked top secret). The fact is that the state intelligence machinery which is much better funded in Andhra Pradesh as compared to many others is engaged in political intelligence and focused on combating in Maoism and thwarting the movementagainst Telangana. It has little idea of terrorism and sleeper cells of terror elements that exist in Hyderabad. It also has little idea of the psychology of terror operators. Interestingly for many years at a stretch in the past the chief of intelligence was considered such an important guy that he ran the police department overriding even the director general of police.
This is not the first time that the state intelligence that specializes in running covert operations against the Maoists have failed: they had no clue about the Mecca Masjid blasts in the city in May 2007 that led to the death of14 people and the twin blasts in August the same year which led to a loss of life of 42. Not only did the intelligence have no prior information, in the case of Mecca Masjid, they made a further goof up. The state cops arrested Muslim youth and imprisoned them for more than a year before the national investigation agencies figured out that the blast was the handiwork of terrorists owing allegiance to a different religious formation. Such was the lack of common sense that they did not even reason that Muslim youth would be unlikely to attack a mosque. In the case of the twin blasts the investigation led to nothing concrete though it is believed to be the handiwork of international terror groups.
The story of intelligence goof ups does not end here: when then home minister P Chidambaram announced creation of Telangana close to mid night on December 9, 2009, that was again based on wrong intelligence inputs. The state intelligence had reported that Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) who was on indefinite hunger strike could cop it that night if the fast was not given up immediately. A panicky central government announced Telangana fearing that the state would go up in flames if KCR died. They realized many days later the hoax played on them. The decision was reversed a fortnight later on widespread protests from the Andhra (non Telangana areas). Over three years later, GOI is still grappling with the after effects of the announcement and its reversal.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy started on a clean state over two years ago. He was seen as a good guy albeit seen as not very political savvy. There were frequent stories about how he would not last long because hewas unable to contain the influence of Jagan Reddy and keep the flock of Congressmen together. But what was predicted to be an innings that would last a few weeks or months, is now over 27 months and counting. In the process of survival however, Kiran has started exactly the same things that his predecessor Rajasekhara Reddy used to do. Those who keep track of happenings, say that two of his brothers have becomevery active. All this seemingly augurs well for Kiran but whether it benefits the citizenry and keeps them more secure remains an open ended question.
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