Centre warns states about terror strikes

Govt puts them on high alert till Jan end when Obama visits India

Centre warns states about terror strikes

Amid a spate of terror attacks across the globe in the past couple of days, the Centre on Wednesday warned states about “heightened possibility” of terror strikes against the backdrop of upcoming visit of US President Barack Obama.

The alert follows the terror attack in Peshawar killing over 130 schoolchildren and the lone terrorist’s strike in a Sydney cafe, arrest of an IS sympathiser in Bengaluru and developments in Middle East.

“The heightened sense of security alertness may be continued at least till the end of January 2015,” the Home Ministry letter to states said. Obama will be in India to attend the Republic Day celebrations on January 26. The letter warned the states that the attacks could come from the SIMI members who escaped from a Khandwa jail in Madhya Pradesh, the remnants of Indian Mujahideen based in Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

It also said the ‘lone-wolf’ attacks like the one in Sydney by radicalised IS sympathisers are also a “possibility”.

The recent terror incidents “warrant immediate” attention of all intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies across India, the letter said. The states have been specially asked to “scale up” security around schools and other institutions, considered “more vulnerable” in the light of the attack on a school in Peshawar on Tuesday.

It has also asked them to ensure maximum security at malls, railway stations and places with high footfalls like public transport system, parks and other areas.

“It is felt that till the end of January 2015, the security forces and intelligence agencies need to remain on a very high alert mode to prevent untoward incidents witnessed recently elsewhere,” it said.

Such attacks can only be prevented if the central and state intelligence agencies mobilise all resources and assets at their disposal and focus on collecting actionable intelligence, the Ministry said.

It suggested the law enforcement agencies should take all measures towards “target hardening” of vulnerable places and installations. The states have been asked to keep Quick Response Teams and Bomb Disposal Squads in readiness during this period to meet any eventuality. It is also necessary to conduct mock trials to check their efficiency and status of equipment and weaponry.

“This is a multi-disciplinary matter for which coordination is required between police, local administration, health department, transport department etc,” the letter said.

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