BENGALURU: In an effort to tackle terrorism in the state, police have decided to set up an Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in each of the five police commissionerates in Karnataka. Soon, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Belagavi, Mangaluru and Hubballi-Dharwad police commissionerates will have one ATS unit each to crack down on sleeper cells and other terrorism-related activities.
Director General & Inspector General of Police Neelmani N Raju has issued directions to the commissionerates concerned to take immediate steps to set up the ATS at the earliest. The DG & IGP has also directed that the ATS should be headed by an officer not below the rank of an Assistant Commissioner of Police, and there should be a dedicated number of staff in each team.
Following the direction, senior police officers have initiated the process and it is likely that the ATS will be ready by the end of this month to operate. “Intelligence gathering and operations will be the two important aspects of the ATS. All the ATSs will exchange information with the State Intelligence and Internal Security Division (ISD) on a regular basis,” an official said.
In Bengaluru, the ATS will operate under the Central Crime Branch (CCB). “We are discussing to bring the ATS under ACP (Special Enquiry) of the CCB, and there will be an exclusive team of 8-10 staff, including a police inspector, under him,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Alok Kumar said.
All these days, at the state level, the Centre for Counter Terrorism attached to the ISD was dealing with issues related to terrorism. At city and district levels, there was no exclusive staff for the job and other officers were given additional charge. “But now, a full-fledged team will work in the ATS in commissionerates and it will be much more effective as the focus is clear and there will be proper flow of information,” a senior official in the CCB said.
It is said inputs from intelligence agencies about probable terrorism related activities and presence of sleeper cells have prompted the state police to act swiftly in setting up the ATS.