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The Rediff Interview/Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal

Anti-terrorist squad for Mumbai soon

August 27, 2003

Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan BhujbalAfter Monday's twin bomb blasts in Mumbai, Maharashtra and central intelligence agencies are working together to arrest the killers.

Chhagan Bhujbal, Maharashtra deputy chief minister who is also the state home minister, shared his perception of terrorism with Vijay Singh.

How can you assure citizens and investors that Mumbai is safe?

Terrorism is an international problem. Such things take place in many countries, not only Mumbai. Our economy is booming, our financial situation is improving, so terrorists are targeting our economy.

This is not the first time we are witnessing such blasts. We have faced this problem many times. Mumbai's people are not scared. They have face the threats bravely. They come in confidently to do their business. No one has left the city because of the blasts. Terrorism is a world phenomenon.

I assure the people that with the help of central government agencies we will stop the terrorists. Nowadays terrorists use public transport for their activities, so I ask people to be careful. I am sure people will take care.

There are reports that two people are involved in all the blasts.

I don't want to disclose any details now. I can only say that terrorists and some fundamentalists are working together.

Is it correct to say that the Mumbai police cannot deal with terrorism?

Of course not. The Mumbai police has done their best. Those involved in the last bomb blast were arrested and chargesheeted. Two terrorists were killed in an encounter.

When then are bomb blasts taking place?

You should understand that this is terrorism, not a small group. Once we finish one group, another group emerges. In Kashmir 1,000 terrorists have been killed, but terrorists are still attacking our forces.

The Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena have accused you of being ineffective as home minister.

Everyone knows terrorist activity is an international problem. I am the Shiv Sena-BJP's enemy number one. The Sena split because of me. I was the Opposition leader when the Sena-BJP government was in power. They lost power only because of me. You will find that very few people talk against the Sena-BJP. I am one of them, so naturally they always attack me.

Does the Maharashtra government plan to set up a special force to act against terrorism?

We started a riots control police to tackle emergency situations. We formed a quick response team which trains with the NSG (National Security Guard).

I have now suggested a special force who only go after terrorist activity. An anti-terrorist squad. This is in process; the government has cleared all the paperwork. Very soon, it will be in action. The anti-terrorist squad will work with the Mumbai police.


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