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Mumbai fishermen still insecure about coastal security

Source: PTI
November 26, 2009 16:26 IST
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Fishermen at Badhwar Park, from where ten Pakistani terrorists entered Mumbai on their diabolic mission, feel there is still a lack of surveillance post 26/11 and have sought reservation for fishermen in the police force to guard the coastline.

"There has still not been much improvement in security along Mumbai's shores. Anyone can land in the city through the sea. The security needs to be upgraded by setting up police stations with adequately armed personnel and boats equipped with tracking and warning systems on boats," National Federation of Fishermen's Co-operatives Chairman Damodar Tandel told media-persons.

The city has a 114 km long coastline with 20 landing stations and over 5,000 fishing vessels, he said. "As the state government is in the process of recruiting 15,000 police personnel, we have requested state Home Minister R R Patil to provide 10 per cent quota to fishermen as they know the sea so well. They just need proper training," Tandel said. He suggested the Maharashtra government to follow in the footsteps of Gujarat Government, which has spent Rs 100 crore for installing tracking and warning systems on 10,000 boats. This, Tandel said, would not only help check terrorist activities, but also come in handy during storms and flood.

Stating that the identity cards issued by thegovernment to fishermen did not make them feel secure, Tandel said, "I do not understand why they are providing us with I-cards? We are not terrorists. What the government needs is effective patrolling of our shores." Bharat Tandel, a resident of Macchimar Nagar in Colaba, who claimed to have seen the terrorists land on Mumbai shores, said, "When I saw a group of people carrying huge bags on their shoulders, I went up to them to ask where they were from and one of them told me just go away."

The ten dreaded terrorists came by a dinghy, Kuber, a private Indian fishing boat from Porbandar in Gujarat, on the night of November 26, 2008  and marched towards their targets without raising any suspision. Damodar Tandel claimed he had received information from a Gujarat-based fisherman Devabhai Bhagat about the possibility of landing of firearms in Mumbai via sea. "I had passed on the information to DCP Madhukar Kohe. Had the security forces acted promptly, an attack like 26/11 could have been averted," he said.

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