Anti Terrorism Day 2022: Why Anti-Terrorism Squad was formed and how it is linked to Shootout at Lokhandwala

Anti Terrorism Day 2022: People in India are observing Anti Terrorism Day today (May 21). The main aim of the day is to ensure nation's security.

By Mallika Mehzabeen
Updated: Sat, 21 May 2022 07:15 AM IST
Minute Read
Anti Terrorism Day 2022: Why Anti-Terrorism Squad was formed and how it is linked to Shootout at Lokhandwala

New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: In order to ensure India's security, people across the country observe Anti-Terrorism Day on May 21 every year. The day also sheds the light on different devastating terrorist attacks conducted by the different terrorist organisations in various parts of the country. On this day, organisations conduct events to pay homage to all those brave hearts who lost their lives while fighting for the nation. The Anti Terrorism Day falls on the same day as the death anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Back in 1991, on May 21, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by terrorists while campaigning for the Congress party in Tamil Nadu.

What is ATS and its role in nation's security?

Anti-Terrorism Squad is a special police force formed in December 1990 in Maharastra. Now, ATS is present in several states of India including Gujarat, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. The squad was started by the Additional Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, Aftab Ahmed Khan, also known as A. A. Khan. The ATS is headed by the senior of the Indian Police Service. The organisation was one of the prominent bodies which were involved in the rescue of 28 hostages in the 26/11 attacks that happened in 2008. The main aim of ATS is to ensure national security and avoid terror attacks in the country. The squad has stopped several terrorist attacks in India. Apart from that the body also aims to gain information about anti-national elements in the society.

Key Roles of ATS

The squad coordinates with agencies such as IB and RAW and also exchanges information with them.

ATS also co-ordinate with similar agencies of other states

One of the important roles of the squad is to detect and eliminate activities of mafias, gangsters, and other criminal organisations

How ATS is connected with Shootout at Lokhandwala?

Soon after the formation of the ATS, one of the major breakthroughs it got was the 1991 Shootout at Lokhandwala, in which seven gangsters including Maya Dolas and Dilip Buwa were gunned down. The rage went on for 4 hours, and 450 rounds were fired. Even now, it is known as India's "first daylight encounter". The encounter came to an end when all seven gangsters were eliminated by the ATS and Mumbai police.

After the entire incident, the shootout became a huge controversy for the members of the ATS as the squad was suspected of staging a fake encounter. Later the ATS was dragged to court and was questioned about the need for a daylight encounter. The squad was further charged with walking away with Rs 7 million, which belonged to Dolas.

Following the shootout at Lokhandwala and others, ATS was terminated in January 1993. However, after its termination, the number of terrorism cases witnessed a rise prompting its reinstation.

The shootout at Lokhandwala was one of the historic encounters. A film was also released in 2007 based on the events of the shootout. The movie was helmed by Apoorva Lakhia and featured Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Sunil Shetty, Vivek Oberoi, Tusshar Kapoor, Arbaaz Khan, Shabbir Ahluwalia, Rohit Roy, Amrita Singh, and Dia Mirza in pivotal roles.

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