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EditorialWaking up at last moment!

Waking up at last moment!


Ours is not an alert society and so is our civilian and internal security establishment as these always used to get caught unaware and mostly at eleventh hour by the time much damage had been done. The recent arrest by Delhi police's branch of a Pakistan High Commission staffer when he was receiving secret documents related to the Border Security Force and the Indian Army's deployment in the areas bordering Pakistan underscores the need for to not lower its guard. Significantly, the purported spy, Mehmood Akhtar, was deployed at the visa office at the Pakistan High Commission office for the last two-and-a-half-years to scout for potential spies while people came seeking visas for Pakistan. While Akhtar got away without arrest since he enjoyed diplomatic immunity and will be deported to Pakistan within 48 hours, the two residents of Nagaur in Rajasthan who handed over the secret documents to him were arrested by the police. The two arrested are Maulana Ramzan Khan and Subhash Jangir. While Khan is a teacher in a mosque in Naguar, Jangir ran a local that was suffering heavy losses, according to the police.

It is astonishing to note the measure of the laxity of the Delhi police that Mehmood Akhtar had been working at the High Commission for two and a half years before being unmasked as a spy. How much damage he may have done to India and how much of a security risk he was is anybody's guess but that BSF and Army deployment maps were found on him when he was nabbed is an index of his mischief potential. What is also noteworthy is that Akhtar had an Aadhaar card which is supposed to be issued to only Indian citizens.  Foolproof checks should be devised to ensure that such trickery is detected early and punished with stiff punitive action as a deterrent. As is normal practice, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs and Foreign Secretary Jaishankar told him that Akhtar had been declared persona non grata for espionage activities. The police did not rule out the role of some BSF personnel in the case. If, as the arrested men are reported to have said that there was a possibility that some BSF personnel were being honey trapped into sharing related information, it is a serious matter which must be dealt with the severity it deserves. Pakistan must be told in no uncertain terms that a repeat of the spy incident would not be tolerated and could lead to snapping of diplomatic ties.

One lesson is at least to be taken by the intelligence and security establishment to be vigilant and alert on such enemies of the country and nab them well in time without they succeed in harming us. It not prudent to become wiser always after paying huge cost.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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