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'Ultimately, it was the havaldar who caught the terrorist'

December 10, 2008
Disgruntled by what he believed was the corruption around him, Yogesh Pratap Singh resigned from the Indian Police Service after 20 years of service in 2005. A gold medalist in law, he is now a lawyer, taking on the police, bureaucrats and politicians.

In a two-part interview with rediff.com's Archana Masih, he assesses the Mumbai police's responses against the backdrop of last fortnight's terror attacks.

When you look back on the night of November 26, as a former IPS officer and part of the Mumbai police, how do you assess what unfolded during the operation?

Ultimately, who caught the terrorist? It was the conventional havaldar with his rudimentary weapons.

When you have so much police force and weapons, what was the need to wait for so long (for the National Security Guard and the Marine Commandos)? It is deplorable. A city which boasts of a police force of 50,000 including the State Reserve Police -- couldn't it have neutralised ten terrorists? They could have planned a strategy and done a big assault. Neither did they try.

We have a State Reserve Police Force, two battalions in Goregaon (north-west Mumbai), 3,000 to 4,000 armed reserve police in Naigaon (north-central Mumbai)-- most of these men are sent for regular commando training to various organisations. The State Reserve Police is sent to Naxalite areas. Had we wanted, we could have utilised them within half an hour. We have excess weapons which are not being used.

Image: Policemen stand guard as Mumbaikars particpate in a rally after the terror attacks on Mumbai. Main photograph: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images; Inset: Y P Singh. Photograph: Uday Kuckian

Also see: 'How we caught the fidayeen alive'
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