People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 08

February 21, 2010



Kerala Tackles Problem Inclusively,

With Humane Welfare Measures


Below we reproduce a slightly edited version of the presentation made by V S Achthanandan, the chief minister of Kerala, at the chief ministers conference on the issue of internal security, held at New Delhi on February 7 at the invitation of the prime minister.   

WE meet here once again to review the internal security situation in the country and our response to the challenges that the nation faces today. 

As in previous years, there was no loss of life due to terrorist actions in Kerala during 2009.    At the same time, we share the concerns of the nation and the world at large with regard to the threat of terrorism. We have addressed the issue seriously. We have taken several steps to detect and neutralise the attempts to endanger internal security. Balanced socio-political policy, setting up of an internal security division in 2006, action taken in 2007 to start the first ever Regional Intelligence Training School in the country in cooperation with the government of India, initiatives in ensuring coastal security with the cooperation of the local people and effective functioning of the police, have improved internal security. But we are not complacent; on the contrary, we continue to explore ways to enhance the safety and security of our people.

In 2009, by regular day-to-day policing, we continued to monitor the threats to internal security.  The findings of Kerala Police have paved the way for exposing many groups involved in anti-national activities. We have unearthed, during the past three years, several linkages and past incidents in which groups outside the state had tried to win over some misguided elements in our midst. The work by the police in identifying extremist elements had considerable preventive impact also.

The strengthening of the local police is extremely important for the prevention of terrorist activities. We have taken measures to sensitise all ranks of police in this regard. The state intelligence and the local police are developing a proper response to these threats. One example of this has been the development of the Consolidated Security Alert Chart at the state level, which the local police use for verifying the background of persons suspected of involvement in criminal activities.

During the year, the state has harnessed new technologies to address the threats to security. The opening of the Cyber Forensic and Digital Analysis Centre, and the starting of the development of digital Automatic Finger Print Identification system and the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System greatly enhance the capacity of the police. In addition, communication capacity of the local police has been improved by e-mail connectivity of all police stations and setting up of a mobile phone network for all ranks including constabulary. We request that, in order to pursue the modernisation process vigorously, the government of India may considerably increase the central share under the Modernisation of Police Forces Scheme.

Kerala Police also needs to increase its strength. We are in the process of recruiting and appointing almost 10,000 personnel. We are still far from the acceptable police population ratio of one policeman for every 500 hundred persons. In this regard, generous assistance from the central government is required through greater allocation of resources to the state.

In coastal security, in cooperation with the central agencies, considerable progress has been made. The Joint Operations Centre has been commissioned. Till now, seven boats have been received and deployed. We have more than 70 police stations situated in coastal areas, which already address coastal security issues. It is expected that all the eight exclusive coastal police stations of the first phase of development will be completed in the first half of this year. With the completion of further development, it is expected that Kerala will have 24 exclusive coastal police stations and 72 boats.

Another significant development has been the functioning of the Kadalora Jagratha Samithis.  This mechanism has helped in getting the cooperation of people in coastal vigilance. It has also made them equal partners in the security efforts. Our experience over the years has revealed that this is really a very effective security shield.

One weakness in the coastal security framework is the type of boats now given. They have problems of operational suitability, fuel efficiency, and mechanical reliability. The low fuel efficiency and the ceiling on fuel consumption, at three to four lakhs of rupees a month, restrict effective patrolling time to only one or two hours per day. This is totally insufficient. These boats are provided by the central government. The suitability of the boats may be reviewed in consultation with the states, and future actions modified.

For ensuring coastal security, we need trained manpower. At present the Coast Guards provide training to the police personnel. However, there is need for training of more personnel and introducing advanced training. It is therefore requested that our earlier proposal of setting up a National Marine Police Academy at Ezhimala be considered.

Kerala welcomes the establishment of the National Investigation Agency to meet the challenges of terrorism, especially those from outside the borders. However, there are provisions that empower the central government to unilaterally take over cases registered in the state. These provisions impinge on the rights of the state guaranteed under the constitution. The exercise of these powers must be tempered with caution. There must be consultative mechanisms developed in this regard for exchange of views between the states and the centre.

Unilateral taking over of cases weakens the preventive and intelligence capability of the state police. The investigation of a crime network is one of the best sources of intelligence to the state police regarding anti-national activities. Verifications undertaken during investigations also open up possibilities of great preventive value. This can be promptly acted upon only by local police. The power of investigation cannot be dissociated from the duty for prevention.  Depriving the state police of these opportunities weakens them greatly. The state police is ultimately the primary agency in our fight to prevent terror. They cannot possibly be replaced by any specialised agency operating form afar. The effort of the centre must be to strengthen the state police. The centre must keep the state informed through continuous consultation. Suitable consensus must be developed on this.

Kerala has, for ages, been a gateway to India. Making use of the increased frequency of domestic and international travel, individuals inimical to the nation have attempted to influence some misguided persons to undertake anti-national activities. There is also the danger of foreigners with ulterior motives exploiting our hospitality. 

The state has taken measures to protect itself by enhanced vigilance, use of state level databases and digital C-form registration system. However, the state has limited powers. For effective response, there is a need for assistance from the ministry of foreign affairs and central intelligence agencies. Immediate and active cooperation from the central government is required in this matter. Such measures will also protect our migrant labour against human trafficking and violation of rights. Recent events underline the need for national level databases to assist the security agencies to detect warning signs and patterns. Absence of such an effective mechanism is a loophole which needs to be plugged.

Kerala is in the process of developing an effective commando unit. In this regard the assistance of the centre in providing specialised training and in importing advanced weapons is needed. In major attacks, assistance of the National Security Guards may be required. However, it is possible that there is delay in coordination and transport of force. For better coordination, a dedicated liaison officer for the state may be designated in the NSG for quick response. NSG may also conduct familiarisation exercises in the state to have better knowledge of the area.

Kerala is vigilant against the threats posed by extremism. Due to the humane social welfare measures by the state, and constant vigilance exercised by the state police, Kerala has not been greatly affected by this problem. However, as prevention is better than cure, we seek the assistance of the centre in the form of good intelligence, modern training and infrastructure to counter this problem. While supporting the efforts of the centre and the states in this regard, we also suggest adoption of equitable development and egalitarian social policies which will go a long way in ensuring peace and order.

Kerala has addressed the problem of threats to internal security in an inclusive manner, taking all communities and groups as partners in this task. The state is also proud of its exemplary human rights record. We are united in our resolve to fight threats to internal security. I also take this opportunity to offer Kerala�s assistance and cooperation to all states and the union to face these challenges and to make our nation and its people more secure.