This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Shakti Avasthy. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

After Over ₹20,000 Crore Spent On The Police, Can We Really Prevent Another 26/11?

More from Shakti Avasthy

On this very day nine years ago, the city of dreams became the city of death, perpetuated by 10 terrorists of Lashkar-E-Taiba leaving 166 civilians and police personnel dead (plus 9 terrorists) in what popularly came to be known as 26/11. In one of the most deadly attacks Indian history has ever seen, coordinated attacks took place majorly in South Mumbai which were eventually controlled after almost 60 hours of gruesome battle. The terrorists came through the sea route and the attack led to a renewed focus on tackling challenges across water frontiers. The article will focus upon the steps taken in the aftermath of 26/11, and what more needs to be done.

India has a coastline of 5,422 kms touching 12 States and Union Territories (UTs). India also has a total of 1,197 islands accounting for 2,094 kms of additional coastline. Coastal security thereby involves many agencies like the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard, the local Police, etc. Indian Coast Guard is tasked with the overall defence of India and patrols the exclusive economic zone (200 nautical miles), the Indian Navy has the objective of providing deterrence against war or intervention, safeguarding India’s mercantile marine and marine and maritime trade, ensuring decisive military victory in case of war, local police has objective of ensuring law and order in the city. Hence the multiplicity of authorities led to lacunae in information sharing and coordination, and as it is popularly said ‘everybody’s responsibility is nobody responsibility’, there existed a gap in maritime security domain. After almost nine years, recently the union government approved a proposal to set up a Central Marine Police Force (CMPF) to protect sea, coasts, ports and vital installations, this police force can police water up to 12 nautical miles from the coast and investigate crimes committed in the coastal water. The CMPF has limited mandate, and will be the point-authority to tackle future such threats.

Also, in aftermath of 26/11, several steps were taken to enhance coastal security like the establishment of National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS), headed by the Cabinet Secretary coordinating all matters related to maritime and coastal security; Joint Operations Centres (JOCs), set up by the Navy as command and control hubs for coastal security at Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi and Port Blair; the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) became the nerve centre of navy. The inauguration of the central hub of National Command Control Communication Intelligence (NC3I) network, which can track 30,000-40,000 ships on a daily basis; 73 coastal police stations was sanctioned by the Ministry Of Home Affairs, deployment of commando units of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) in ports, etc among the major work.

Owing to such extensive measures, a successful incident was witnessed on December 31,2014 when Pakistani boat was destroyed 365 miles off Porbandar after an hour-long chase by a coast guard ship on new year’s eve.

However, one cannot deny the challenges still remaining on coastal security front. CMPF though is a laudable efforts but can lead to further multiplication of authority in already crowded coastal security infrastructure if not handled well. Also, the CMPF may become an arena of turf wars between the State and Centre, as many of their functions still have a considerable overlap. Moreover, security requires robust intelligence which has to be obtained by local public. To obtain this information an agency needs to gain trust of public, learn regional languages, and coordinate activities with local groups. A new agency may face hurdles in these areas.

To make the security infrastructure further robust, some future solutions include issuance of multi-purpose identity cards to all fishermen, sea ferrying personnel and coastal villages, implementation of uniform licensing of fishing boats across the country. The installation of special transponders and global positioning system on registered boats for identification and tracking, deployment of commando units of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) in all ports and creation of coastal security commission for streamlining policies and encouraging coordination.

The next major reform in the aftermath of 26/11 was creation of National Investigation Agency (NIA) which acts as the central counter terrorism law enforcement agency. The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states. The NIA has concurrent jurisdiction which empowers the central agency to probe terror attacks in any part of the country, covering offences, including challenge to the country’s sovereignty and integrity, bomb blasts, hijacking of aircraft and ships, attacks on nuclear installations. The agency is seen as India’s answer to the Federal Bureau of Investigation‘s counter terrorism wing, although, despite a population four times that of the United States, it has about 0.5 % of the funding of its American counterpart.

Further, the growing crimes in cyber arena require expertise, which the NIA unfortunately lacks. Also, the NIA has become more like a post-mortem agency as it can’t take up cases suo-moto and eventually has to take directions from either the Centre or State to function.

Another vital reform after 26/11 wa the National Intelligence Grid  (NATGRID), which was containing network of intelligence data gathered by several authorities. This was a major step taken as it could mitigate the problem of lack of real-time information which was a crucial impediment in anticipating threats. NATGRID utilizes technologies like big data and analytics to study and analyses the huge amounts of data from various intelligence and enforcement agencies to help track suspected terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks. The post of NATGRID chief was however vacant from May 2014- June 2016, but with recent appointment of Ashok Patnaik the institution got the much needed push. However, NATGRID excludes State agencies, police forces from access to its database which leads to loss of effectiveness. Since foot constables are the most suitable people to grasp the changing mood of the people & are also the first respondents excluding them may bear less fruits.

Apart from all such structural reforms, one major area has also been police reforms. Regular modernisation of police forces has been done over the years. Recently, ₹25,060 crore for police modernization for three years was passed by the union cabinet.

Most importantly, in the aftermath of 26/11, Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) was launched in 2009 with the aim of establishing seamless connectivity among 15,000 police stations across the country, and an additional 5,000 offices of supervisory police officers. CCTNS entailed digitisation of data related to FIRs registered, cases investigated, and charge sheets filed in all police stations, in order to develop a national database of crime and criminals. The project is however still to be over, and was extended recently, but on completion can be a game-changer in future.

However, the Indian police system is not without problems. India has 144 police officers per a population of 100,000, down from 149 per 100,000 in 2013, below the UN norm, of 220 per 100,000. There is also a lack of gender-equity as only 122,912 of India’s 1,731,666 state police officers are women. With concerns of manpower shortage going below the global norm & even below the sanctioned limit, they could well get out of sync with security requirements in future.

Hence, reforms in coastal policing, intelligence collection and sharing, improving capability of the NIA, robust usage of NATGRID, and making a holistic change by better inter-agency cooperation, reducing turf wars between Centre-State is the need of the hour. The National Counter Terrorism Centre’s (NCTC’s) idea also needs to be revived which,emerged in the aftermath of 26/11 but remained merely on papers. NCTC was supposed to be the single and effective point of contact, control and coordination of all counter-terrorism activities. The agency was to maintain a database on terrorists, their families, and whereabouts. It was housed under the Intelligence Bureau (IB), and could carry out searches, arrests and counter-terror operations in any part of the country.

On the whole we can say that certainly we are quite better prepared to prevent another 26/11. No major civilian terror attack has happened post 26/11 which is commendable. We have certainly made strides, but the security environment is changing rapidly. We can’t rest on our laurels just yet, as dimensions of security are no more just three (land, air and water) but have become at least five (land, air, water, space and cyber space) that needs pro-activeness in the security domain.

You must be to comment.

More from Shakti Avasthy

Similar Posts

By Ashish Birulee

By Tanaya Bhowal

By Nupur Bakshi

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below