December 1, 2008

Kolkata Police seek new anti-terrorism force, tenant database

Kolkata, Nov 29,2008: Gearing up after the country's most brazen terrorist strike in Mumbai, Kolkata Police Thursday issued a notification directing the house-owners to maintain a complete database of tenants and requested the West Bengal government to raise a special anti-insurgenct commando force.

"We've decided to make it mandatory for all the landlords (house-owners) to fill up a 'tenant profile form' and submit it to the local police station. We've already issued a notification today following the attack in Mumbai," Kolkata Police Commissioner Gautam Mohon Chakraborty told a press conference.
He said the police wanted to maintain a thorough database of all tenants in the city and its surrounding areas. "We'll soon give a deadline to complete this process. Those violating the norms will be penalised under Section 188 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), according to the gravity of the offence," he said.

"In that case, the offenders might face a jail term - from one to six months - and a fine," said Chakraborty, adding Kolkata Police would also send a proposal to the state government for forming a special action commando battalion to fight critical terror attack.

"We're constantly in touch with Mumbai Police and keeping a tab on the situation. We're also sharing information and intelligence with Mumbai Police and other sister agencies," he said but declined to share the operational details.

Security measures have been stepped up in Kolkata and its adjoining districts after serious terrorist attacks rocked India's commercial capital Wednesday night, leaving at least 101 killed and several injured.

The police said additional forces along with sniffer dogs and metal detectors have already been deployed in all district police headquarters and major railway stations across the state. "Kolkata Police have already issued a security advisory notice for all the hotels and commercial building owners in the city to abide by the norms. The guidelines would soon be circulated to schools, markets and shopping mall authorities also.," he said.

"We're also trying to formulate strict measures for telephone booths as people often make crank calls from the public booths and cause unnecessary panic," he said. Chakraborty mentioned that three hoax calls, including in the office of a leading Bengali daily and a central public sector undertaking office, were reported Thursday. The Kolkata Police top brass had an emergency meeting with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Home Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty Thursday morning.
"Metal detectors have been installed at all vital places in the city, especially at five-star hotels, shopping malls, multiplexes, airport and metro rail stations. There will be at police picketing at all major road junctions and crowded places," Chakraborty said. He said no vehicle or person would be allowed to enter unchecked important places like hotels and airport .
"Every vehicle and every person will be thoroughly checked before entering important places like hotels, malls and airport. There will be heavy police security in and outside these places. Our officers have been instructed to report anything and anyone suspicious," said Chakraborty.
Watertight security has been arranged, especially for five-star hotels.
People entering hotels like the Taj Bengal are not only undergoing a metal detector test but sniffer dogs are also used to check them and their baggage thoroughly. Besides, two-layer police security has been posted at the hotels. The number of security guards has also been increased.
The Kolkata Port Trust will Friday hold a high-level meeting to review its security arrangements."There is a high-level secuirty apparatus in the port as per the Internaitonal shipping and Port Facility Security Code. It is reviewed by the Directorate General of Shipping from time to time. Whenever it sees any deficiency, the DGS points it out and identifies the reason" said a highly placed KoPT official.

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