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Delhi sends forces and federal feelers

The home ministry today dispatched central forces to Gujarat, though the state had not asked for them, stressing the need for a federal agency to tackle terror-related incidents.

Sources said the Centre would push for a federal agency again and soon convene a meeting of chief ministers in the capital.

The Centre would also ask states to earmark more funds for security-related matters.

The decision to send additional forces to Gujarat was taken following a high-level meeting on the security scenario across the country after the Bangalore and Ahmedabad blasts.

Chaired by Union home minister Shivraj Patil, the meeting reviewed the information received regarding progress in the investigation into yesterday’s blasts in Gujarat.

Patil also briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the situation and is likely to accompany him to Gujarat tomorrow.

National security adviser M.K. Narayanan also made a presentation to the Prime Minister about the situation and the complete lack of intelligence inputs about the blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

It was decided that the Centre would work in close co-ordination with Gujarat. Senior home ministry officials took pains to explain that relations with the Narendra Modi government should not be seen as “confrontational”.

But they happily leaked the information about Gujarat not being represented at a meeting on July 24, held to review ongoing investigations of important cases that are pending.

Representatives from seven states, including Karnataka, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, were invited to the meeting. “Mostly, the directors- general of police from the states attended it. There was nobody from Gujarat,” said an official.

Patil, however, was correct as ever. “The Centre will provide all help to Gujarat in this hour of crisis,” he said.

The state government, he added, has to “ensure” that no mischief is “perpetrated and the nefarious designs of perpetrators do not succeed”.

Security agencies were most disturbed about the lack of intelligence about the blasts and had no qualms about putting the blame on the Gujarat government.

“The IB is for national level intelligence. The Research and Analysis Wing is for international intelligence. The states are responsible for their intelligence gathering. The time has come for states to set up their own intelligence wings and make them accountable,” an official said, adding that Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Andhra had good established systems.

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