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Karnataka to set up Anti-Terrorist Squad
July 13, 2007 16:31 IST
The Karnataka government proposes to set up an Anti-Terrorist Squad exclusively for state capital Bangalore, which is in global focus after the detention of three of its residents for the failed terror plot in Britain.
The move comes in the wake of the detention of brothers Sabeel and Khafeel Ahmed and their cousin Mohammed Haneef in Britain and Australia respectively, state government sources said in New Delhi.
The need to insulate Bangalore from terror attacks was felt in the wake of recent developments, which have shown that terrorists have made the metropolis a prime target as it is home almost every multinational information technology company, the sources said.
Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday briefed Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil about the developments and preventive measures taken by the state police and Home department.
Kumaraswamy, who was joined by state police chief K R Srinivasan, refused to give details about the discussions, saying 'this was a sensitive issue' that could be detrimental to ongoing investigations.
"I have briefed the Home Minister on developments in the state over the past 10 days. We have to take serious action and the state's intelligence and Home department are capable of handling the situation," he said.
The Centre had given an assurance that it will provide additional funds to Karnataka to meet expenses for beefing up security, he said.
Meanwhile, state government sources said efforts were on to sanitise Bangalore and to ascertain whether any sleeper cells of Pakistan-based militant groups like Lashker-e-Tayiba existed in the city.
Asked about the presence of Al Qaeda [Images] or its front outfits in the city, the sources privy to the current investigations said the state police had already taken preventive measures and had so far not come across any leads in this regard.
The arrest of Khafeel Ahmed in Glasgow had taken city police by surprise and they immediately carried out background verification, the sources said, without giving details.
Officially, the state government has been tightlipped on the issue, but the sources said a thorough check is being carried out in all airports to ascertain whether Bilal Abdulla, the Iraqi doctor who is an associate of Khafeel and was arrested in Britain, had ever come to Bangalore.
In a related development, the Karnataka government made it clear that no official from Australia had come to Bangalore to probe the background of Haneef, a doctor who has been detained in Brisbane.