Rs 13.35 cr prog to train judicial officers, police in cyber crime

Government is embarking on an ambitious Rs 13.35 crore programme to train around 37,500 policemen and judicial officers in cyber crime in next two years to strengthen the investigation and prosecution mechanism as well as preventing such incidents.

Under the programme, 27,500 police personnel and 10,000 judicial officers and prosecutors will be trained in working of cyber domain, modus operandi of cyber criminals, basic understanding of evidences associated with such crimes, legal provisions, cyber crime identification, crime scene management and investigation procedures.

Of the 27,500 police personnel, at least 2,500 will be chosen from women Station House Officers (SHOs) across the country as they would be the first to inteact with victims and record their complaints. Of the 17,500 officers, states can add more women police officers for the training programme.

A senior Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) official told DH that the programme is being rolled out as the government feels that the understanding on cyber crimes cannot be limited to a few specialist investigative officers, as increasing use of internet and social media has resulted in a “plethora of varied crimes being committed in the cyber domain”.

The training is part of Cyber Crime Prevention Against Women and Children scheme under Nirbhaya Fund.

*******************************************************

Training programme for police personnel in cyber crime

3 day

(Police)

Any gender

3 day

(Police)

Women

3 day

(Prosecutors)

3 day

(Judges)

5 day

(Police)

Any gender

5 day

(Police)

Women

Tamil Nadu

1500

150

300

300

910

40

Uttar Pradesh

1400

140

600

600

910

40

Maharashtra

1100

110

600

600

630

20

Andhra Pradesh

1000

100

125

125

630

20

Bihar

1000

100

200

200

650

50

MP

Karnataka

1000

900

100

90

350

300

350

300

630

630

20

20

All India

15000

2000

5000

5000

10000

500

*******************************************************

The unveiling of the training programme comes weeks after the MHA asked states to set up systems to monitor “deep web” which is often used for planning and execution by cyber criminals. Its advisory on cyber crime prevention and control to the states has insisted on the need for gearing up institutional mechanism to tackle cyber crimes, which pose “technical, administrative as well as legal challenges” in investigations.

Three training modules have been designed. Two sepearate three-day programme has been devised for police personnel 17,000 personnel that includes at least 2,000 police women, who receive the complaints, and judicial officers. A five-day programme for 10,500 above the rank of Sub Inspector, including at least 500 women, for those investigate these cases.

An MHA concept note shared with states said that most of the crimes now have an element of misuse of computers, smart-phones and communication networks and these technologies are being used by criminals in committing conventional crimes.

There is a need to evaluate electronic evidences for nailing culprits and the training is aimed at enabling investigators to extract legally tenable evidences for securing conviction in courts.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 14, 2018)

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Rs 1344 crore earmarked for fighting naxals

The government has earmarked Rs 1,344 crore for fighting naxals across the country and reaching out to people in Maoist-infested districts with development projects.

The bulk of the allocation, which is detailed in a Budget document ‘Output-Outcome Frame Work for Schemes 2018-19’, goes to projects proposed by states in 35 worst naxal-infested districts.

The budgetary allocation for Special Central Assistance for these districts is Rs 1,000 crore. Under this, funds would be provided to these districts in seven naxal-affected states in advance — Rs 28.57 crore per district per annum for three years — for undertaking the projects.

A senior official in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said this scheme is aimed at providing public infrastructure and services like school buildings, anganwadi centres, primary health centres, drinking water supply, village roads and furniture in schools. According to the document, this will help in filling critical gaps of emergent nature not covered under any development scheme.

“The government’s policy is multi-prong. Force alone would not help in tackling Maoist menace. We need to bring the fruits of development to these areas so that people can stand up to the ultras,” the official told DH.

Another Rs 200 crore is allocated for Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme. This amount would be spent on paying ex gratia to families of civilians and personnel killed in naxal violence, insurance premium of police, training and operational requirements, compensation for surrendered Maoists, security related infrastructure and other expenses of village defence committees.

The scheme is expected to reduce naxal violence and number of attacks on security personnel deployed in such areas. Last year witnessed the Maoists violence remaining below 1,000-mark for the first time in eight years but number of security personnel getting killed in action had recorded a rise.

Securing police stations also have got priority with the allocation of Rs 94 crore given under Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) for construction of 250 fortified police station. This would help in filling critical infrastructure relating to mobility of security forces and secure camping grounds and helipads in remote areas.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 12)

Sep IPC section needed to deal with crime against journos: MP

Concerned over the attacks on journalists and police failing to catch culprits, a Trinamool Congress MP will move a private resolution in Rajya Sabha on Friday seeking a separate section in Indian Penal Code dealing with offences against media persons.

Referring to the murder of Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru last September, journalist-turned MP Vivek Gupta said in his private member resolution that cases of work related threats and violence against journalists are increasing. He also demanded a CBI probe into the murder of Lankesh, who was an outspoken critic of Hindutva forces.

Gupta said there is no umbrella scheme for the protection of security of journalists and media community while seeking a nationwide survey to get an actual estimate of number of journalists facing work-relate threats to formulate a protection plan and welfare for them. Another suggestion from the MP was setting up of a toll-free number so that journalists can contact police in case of emergency.

Quoting a report of Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the resolution said, “not a single case of journalist’s murder was solved in India over the past decade and 96% of cases of attack on media personnel remained unresolved since 1992.

Noting that the country ranks 136 out of 192 countries in 2017 on World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders, the resolution said, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) database records only those cases of attacks on media persons where there is ‘grievous hurt of varying degrees’ but does not include murder of journalists resulting in under-reporting of cases. The number of journalists facing work related threats is “grossly under estimated” due to less reporting of such cases, it said.

The official statistics itself suggest 142 attacks against journalists for grievous hurt between 2014 and 2015. However, only 73 people were arrested in these cases.

“There in disparity across the states between the registered cases of attack on the media personnel and the number of persons arrested for these attacks, for instance, Uttar Pradesh registered highest number of such cases (64), but only 4 persons were arrested….whereas in 26 cases of attack on journalists which were registered in Madhya Pradesh, 42 persons were arrested. The conviction rate of the persons arrested for crimes against journalists is even lower than the arrests,” the resolution said.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 8, 2018)

UP police now feel free to misuse power to settle scores with people: NHRC

In a stinging criticism of Yogi Adityanath government over ‘encounters, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday said policemen in Uttar Pradesh now feel free to misuse their power to “settle scores with people” following an “undeclared endorsement” from higher-ups.

The NHRC’s strong words came after it issued a notice to UP government and police following reports about a Sub Inspector opening fire at a 25-year-old gym instructor and telling his colleague that the “encounter” would earn him an out of turn promotion. The incident that took place on Saturday night rocked Rajya Sabha on Monday leading to washing out of the morning session.

With UP witnessing over 900 encounters in which 31 were killed after Adityanath government assumed power in March last year, the NHRC has asked the UP Chief Secretary and Director General of Police to look into the “emerging scenario, personally and to take appropriate action to sensitise the police personnel not to abuse their power to harass the innocent citizens”. Six weeks time have been given them to submit the report.

encounter-1516255480

While Noida Police has denied receiving any message on the encounter in the gym instructor case, the NHRC said, “it seems that police personnel in Uttar Pradesh are feeling free, misusing their power in the light of an undeclared endorsement given by the higher ups.”

“They are using their privileges to settle scores with the people. The police force is to protect the people, these kind of incidents would send a wrong message to the society. Creating an atmosphere of fear is not the correct way to deal with the crime. In this particular case, the injured man is not an offender. He was travelling with his friends when the rowdy act done by the delinquent SI has gravely violated his right to life and liberty,” it said.

It said this indicate that the policeman acted in “unruly manner having no fear or respect for the law” and this is one of the incidents in sequence of several police encounters occurred in the state.

This is not the first time the NHRC has raised questions about encounters in the state. Quoting Adityanath’s remarks that “criminals will be jailed or killed in encounters”, the NHRC had on 22 November, 2017 said even if the law and order situation is grave, the state cannot resort to such mechanism, which may result in the extra judicial killings of the alleged criminals.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 6, 2018)

Rs 218.32 crore for roads on China border

Gearing up to the challenge posed by the communist neighbour, India is stepping up its infrastructure along the border with China with the latest Union Budget allocating Rs 218.32 crore for constructing around 200 km road network on the Himalayan terrain.

Officials said roads measuring 197.40 km will be built in two phases with the first phase covering 97.40 km and it would enhance the operational capability of the border guarding force, here the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), in reaching out to areas fast and take on transgressing Chinese troops.

The emphasis on infrastructure building on the Sino-India border comes as Beijing has stepped up its infrastructure activities on its side of border and after a stand-off in Doklam Plateau in western Bhutan.

border_660_112312052146

In October last year, a conference of the military commanders in New Delhi has decided that the roads linking the four mountain passes – Niti, Lipulekh, Thang La 1 and Tsang Chok La – along the Line of Actual Control would be built on priority by 2020.

On the Indo-Pakistan border, Rs 119.22 crore has been allocated for fencing of 24 km while another Rs 75 crore has been allocated for constructing 659 km of roads. Floodlighting of 224 km would get Rs 25 crore, according to the Output-Outcome Framework for Schemes 2018-19.

For the Indo-Bangladesh border, Rd 269.23 crore has been allocated for 53.65 km long fencing, Rs 33.65 crore for 57.08 km long road, and Rs 67.31 crore for floodlighting of 87.71 km.

***************************************************************************

India-China: Road projects — 197.40 km — Rs 218.32 crore

Indo-Bangladesh border

Road projects — 57.08 km — Rs 33.65 crore

Barbed wire fencing — 53.65 km — Rs269.23 crore

Floodlighting — 87.71 km — Rs 67.31 crore

India-Pak border

Road projects — 659 km — Rs 75 crore

Fencing — 24 km — Rs 119.22 crore

Floodlighting — 224 km — Rs 25 crore

High tech surveillance equipment — Rs 50 crore

Border Out Posts on Indo-Pak, Indo-Bangladesh borders — 26 — Rs 235.58 crore

*******************************************************************

The border infrastructure development on India’s other borders are also getting enough attention. Road projects measuring 378.11 km along India-Nepal border has been allotted Rs 100 crore while another Rs 67 lakh has been earmarked for such projects on Indo-Bhutan border.

Two pilot projects of a high-tech surveillance unit would be deployed in Gujarat and Punjab at a cost of Rs 25 crore each. Officials said this could be spread to other areas depending on its success.

Twenty-six Border Out Posts will also come up on Indo-Pak and Indo-Bangladesh borders at a cost of Rs 235.58 crore.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 4, 2018)

Pix courtesy: India Today (representational pix)

Maoist incidents remain below 1,000-mark in 2017

Incidents of Maoists violence in the country remained below 1,000-mark in 2017 for the first time in eight years but number of security personnel getting killed in action are on the rise.

Also, latest Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) report shows that the number of arms training camps and ‘jan adalats’ organised by the naxals remained almost same in 2017 compared to 2016, though it has reduced considerably when compared to 2010.

Senior security officials feel that the action against the naxals across the country is on the right path though there is a lot more to be done in Chhattisgarh, the main theatre of Maoist violence, where an increase in number of deaths were reported despite a decline in incidents.

Last year, 908 incidents involving Maoists were reported across the country, as against 1,048 in 2016 and 1,089 in 2015. In 2010, when the Maoist movement was at its peak, there were 2,213 incidents.

Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and Maharashtra account for 873 of the 908 incidents reported in 2017.

Maoist Incidents In India

2010

2015

2016

2017

Incidents

2,213

1,089

1,048

908

Civilians Killed

720

171

213

188

Security Personnel Killed

285

59

65

75

Encounters with Police

272

247

330

234

Attacks on Police (including landmine attacks)

230

118

111

84

Maoists killed

172

89

222

136

One of the highlights in the analysis by the MHA is the decline in civilian deaths. While 2016 saw a rise in civilian deaths, ducking the declining trend since 2010, the casualties on this side has once again slided last year to below 200 mark at 188. In 2016, it was 213 while it was 171 in 2015.

However, there is no good news on the front on security personnel front, as the number of their deaths in action is rising for the past two years. While 2010 recorded 285 killings of security personnel, it was on the decline till 2015 when 59 such cases were reported. However, it rose to 65 in 2016 and then to 75 last year.

Incidents/Deaths in States

States 2010

Incidents/Deaths

2015

Incidents/Deaths

2016

Incidents/Deaths

2017

Incidents/ Deaths

Chhattisgarh 625 / 343 466 / 101 395/107 373 / 130
Jharkhand 501 / 157 310 / 56 323 / 85 251 / 56
Bihar 307 / 97 110 / 17 129 / 28 99 / 22
Odisha 218 / 79 92 / 28 86 / 27 81 / 29
Maharashtra 94 / 45 55 / 18 73 / 23 69 / 16

The background paper prepared by the MHA had earlier acknowledged that extremists had fine-tuned their Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) “quite well” after suffering setbacks in 2016. The naxals have managed to perpetrate “some major incidents” by resorting to ambushes and IED attacks “taking the forces by surprise,” it had said.

It had then said the Maoists were trying to deflect the attention of forces away from Dandakaranya region, the naxal hotbed, by stepping up activities at the Chhattisgarh-Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra tri-junction.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Jan 20, 2018)

 

Monitor ‘deep web’: MHA to states

Tackling the “border-less” world of cyber crimes, the Centre has asked states to set up systems to monitor “deep web” which is often used for planning and execution of nefarious activities by criminals.

It also wants the states to set up or strengthen its existing social media monitoring facilities with a special emphasis on vernacular content, as a lot of such information are being passed through WhatsApp, Twitter and other social media tools to incite trouble.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has now sent an ‘advisory on cyber crime prevention and control’ to all states insisting on the need for gearing up institutional mechanism to tackle cyber crimes, which pose “technical, administrative as well as legal challenges” in investigations.

It wants the states to have domain experts in information technology, mobile telephony, digital forensics and cyber law “hired from the market” in the cyber crime coordination cell at state level as well as district cyber crimes.

With criminals using “deep web”, which is part of the World Wide Web whose contents are not indexed by standard web search engines, to further their agenda, the states should also set up cloud-based high-tech cyber forensic labs.

As part of preventive measures, the MHA has also asked states to maintain a list of suspect profiles for monitoring, especially busting rackets of child pornography, human trafficking and blackmailing.

*************************************************************************

** Set up State Cyber Crime Coordination Cell/District Cyber Crime Cells

— Suitable number of police personnel be deployed along with domain experts hired from market

** Refer cases with inter-state or international ramifications to CBI

** Set up cloud-based high-tech cyber forensic labs

** Possibility of mobile cyber forensic lab facility could be explored

** Train all police officers in basic cyber awareness

** Sufficient number of officers be trained in cyber crime investigations, forensic analysis and cyber law

** Set up systems to monitor deep web

** Set up or strengthen social media monitoring facilities with emphasis on vernacular content

** Apply “intelligence-led” policing to pre-empt cyber crimes

** Maintain a list of suspect profiles

*************************************************************************

Cyber crimes is increasing in the country with latest figures showing it has touched 12,317 in 2016 compared to 11,592 in 2015 and 9,622 in 2014. Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 2,639 cases in 2016 followed by Maharashtra (2,380) and Karnataka (1,101) last year.

According to ‘Crime in India 2016’, 48.6% of cyber-crimes reported were for illegal gain (5,987) followed by revenge (1,056) and insult to the modesty of women (686 cases). Blackmailing was the motive in 571 such cases while inciting hate crimes (149) also had high numbers.

The MHA wants the states to leverage support of private sector and civil society in gathering information and apply “intelligence-led” policing to pre-empt cyber crimes.

The states have also been asked to refer specific cases which have inter-state or international ramifications to the CBI, which is also the nodal point for Interpol in the country. Training of sufficient number of police officers in cyber crime investigation, forensic analysis and legal aspects is also emphasised by the MHA.

On awareness drives, the advisory said there should be regular campaigns advising people not to share user ID, password, PIN numbers or One-Time Passwords.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Jan 17, 2018)

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