India to Form a National Agency to Fight Terrorism

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Dec. 17 – Following mass public outrage at the bureaucracy, lack of finances and poor national co-ordination Indian security agencies get entwined in post the Mumbai terror attacks, the Indian government passed a bill allowing the formation of a national agency to investigate major militant attacks.

Proposed by the new Home Minister – P. Chidambaram, the Central Industrial Security Force Act if passed into law would establish a National Investigations Agency, styled on the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the UK’s MI5.

The NIA will be governed by the Defence of India Rules, normally used in times of war, giving the agency overriding powers to take over the investigation of terror attacks without direct interference from the states. The agency was earlier opposed by India’s 29 states as they felt it would allow the national government to usurp local law enforcement powers.

Chidambaram also sought the approval of the lower house for new anti-terror legislation which would give provincial and federal police increased powers to investigate militant attacks.

The bill would allow the "speedy investigation, prosecution and trial of cases related to terrorism," he added to the AFP. India’s Central Bureau of Investigation which was earlier most likened to the FBI, was limited as it needed prior approval from state government before any investigation, drastically slowing down the process.

The bill follows a spate of terror attacks in India that have killed hundred in the last year alone. Terrorists from inside and outside the country have been blamed for the various attacks, however citizens feel little action has been taken by the government to prevent such attacks in the future. Even with the establishment of the NIA, crime experts are weary of the exact role of the NIA, where the additional financing, training, and work force is going to come from? India already has several crime and intelligence agencies in addition to a sizeable police force.