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Inside story: How Intelligence Bureau alerts are issued

February 22, 2013 15:31 IST

Only one out of every 100 alert issued by central intelligence agencies is specific in nature, reports Vicky Nanjappa 

Was the alert on the possible terror attacks in Hyderabad general or specific? This is a question that is being debated. However, what one needs to understand is that a specific alert can be issued only one out of 100 times and hence most alerts are general in nature.

An alert is normally sent out by the central intelligence agencies through the home ministry. This is sent to the respective state intelligence wings, which in turn issues it to the additional director general of police (law and order). The information is then passed on to all the district police chiefs in the state.

Intelligence Bureau officials say that whatever the nature of the alert may be, it is the duty of the police to step up vigil. Each officer needs to assess the situation and zero in on the sensitive and crowded areas under their jurisdiction. At least three police personnel have to be stationed in such areas.

A terrorist would normally avoid an area if he finds a police presence. Even in Hyderabad the plan to bomb to the Sai Baba Temple was altered because of security presence.

However, in Hyderabad a majority of the police force has been busy with the political situation because of the Telangana issue. Security at Osmania University and the old city of Hyderabad was beefed up and areas such as Dilsukhnagar were ignored in the bargain.

The IB says that they cannot give specifics regarding an attack. “We can point out cities in our alerts, but it is very difficult to be area specific. It is the job of the state police to draw out a list of sensitive areas and protect them. Terrorists normally hit high- profile targets and crowded areas as the intention is to create an impact,” said an IB official. 

The police, however, argue that it is difficult to guard an entire city keeping in mind their staff in terms of numbers. More often than not, the intelligence does have specific information. “Although we agree that intelligence cannot be specific at all times, they should at least indicate the seriousness of the alert,” said a police official.

On an average the IB gets nearly 40 to 50 tip offs every day. All these alerts are scrutinised before it is sent out to the respective state police heads, the IB says.

Vicky Nanjappa in Hyderabad