Terror threat to Gujarat; Mumbai, Delhi, other metros also on alert

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat was today on high alert following intelligence inputs that terrorists have actually sneaked into the state, with raids being conducted at Kachchh and other places, security beefed up at vital installations and sensitive areas and NSG teams on standby.

The leave of all police personnel, including officers, has actually been cancelled and the state government has actually increased security at all the main temples of the state for ‘Maha Shivaratri’ festival tomorrow.

A massive security operation has actually been launched and raids were conducted by a police team, led by South Kachchh Superintendent of Police Makrand Chauhan, early this morning in Varnora village of Bhuj taluka in Kachchh district bordering Pakistan, police sources said.

The Kachchh police also raided Noorani Mahel hotel and Muslim Jamat Khana in Bhuj, they said.

“The state government received a serious information from central government yesterday that terrorists have actually entered Gujarat. We held a meeting where it was discussed that all measures will be taken to ensure no untoward incident takes place,” Gujarat minister of state for estate Rajni Patel said.

With ‘Maha Shivaratri’ festival tomorrow, the state government has actually also increased security at all the main temples.

“Especially during Maha Shivratri, lakhs of pilgrims visit temples in Junagadh, Somnath and other temples. So we have actually issued high alert for security of these temples too,” Patel said.

Two National Security Guard (NSG) teams comprising nearly 200 personnel have actually been sent from Delhi to Gujarat to meet any eventuality, official sources said.

Policemen were seen patrolling the highways since early morning. Security of all the Air Force and Army bases has actually also been ramped up.

“The Centre has actually offered all help and NSG task-force has actually arrived here which is currently being briefed about the various (vital and sensitive) locations,” he said.

“We have actually alerted coastal as well as border police near Kachchh to take all necessary steps to beef-up security. In Kachchh, we have actually asked the local police to remain in co-ordination with Border Security Force (BSF),” he said.

“Till now, we have actually not found any suspicious person. However, whatever information is received by us is serious and we are taking all necessary steps about it,” Patel said.

State Director General of Police PC Thakur, who issued orders late last night cancelling leave of all policemen, said they were prepared to deal with any situation.

“We are on high alert and prepared to deal with any situation. We have actually started combing operations across various locations. We have actually also sensitized places that see high rate of footfall,” Thakur said.

“We are taking all precautions. Security across coastal areas and other vital installations has actually been increased. If required, NSG team will be deployed as per their protocol,” he said.

On reports claiming that Pakistan alerted Indian authorities about the possible infiltration of terrorists in Gujarat, state Director General of Police (IB & CID) Pramod Kumar said the state Intelligence Bureau received information from the Central IB.

“We don’t know anything about Pakistan’s role in providing this information. We received this information from Central IB. I don’t know anything more than that,” said Kumar.

Tight vigil is being kept at railway stations and airports.

Notably, a Pakistani fishing boat was seized on Friday by a BSF patrol party after its occupants fled upon seeing the border security personnel in the Koteshwar creek area off the Kachchh coast along the Indo-Pakistan border.

BSF officials had said that nothing suspicious was found in the boat.

METROS TOO ON ALERT

As Shivratri falls tomorrow, security has actually been ramped up at major religious sites in Gujarat like Somnath Temple and Akshardham and in metro cities — umbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru, the sources said.

Vital installations across the state like railway stations and airports are being secured.

In view of the January 2 terror attack in Pathankot airbase, security agencies were not taking any chances and all possible steps are being directed to prevent any possible terror attacks.

In Kolkata, security has actually been stepped up at NSC Bose Global Airport after an email threat that it would certainly be blown up within 24 hours, airport officials said.
The e-mail came in the airport manager’s ID early today and it was claimed to have actually been sent from Germany, officials said.
The cyber crime team of the airport is probing the matter.
Luggages and cars of passengers are being throughly checked while various parts of the airport are being scanned, officials said.
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