Mumbai on high alert after students spot men with arms

Mumbai on high alert after students spot men with arms

Mumbai on high alert after students spot men with arms

A high alert has been sounded along the Mumbai coast and adjoining areas on Thursday after a group of men, appeared to be armed and wearing Pathani suits, were spotted moving suspiciously near a naval base at Uran in Raigad district.

The sighting by two schoolchildren has prompted massive combing operations by multiple agencies. An aerial surveillance has been mounted even as intelligence agencies like the Research & Analysis Wing and the Intelligence Bureau are gleaning information from their assets.

The Coast Guard has enhanced patrolling along the Mumbai coast, while the marine police have beefed up security measures along the creeks and important shore assets. Uran is about 50 km from downtown Mumbai and is of immense strategic importance because of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, the biggest container terminal in India; vital bases of the navy’s Western Naval Command (WNC) like INS Tunir, the missiles and weapons storage facility of the navy, INS Abhimanyu, the training facility of the elite marine commandos and a facility of the ONGC, besides several companies. The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre at Trombay is not far away from Uran.

Two students from Uran Education Society’s school first spotted the suspects and told their teachers and principal, who informed the local police. Some reports said that the men were wearing black Pathani suits and had their faces covered. Officials of the WNC and the Maharashtra Police confirmed the development.

“There is a massive security build-up. The information cannot be taken lightly in the wake of incidents like attacks on the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot, the Army camp in the Uri sector and the 26/11 attacks,” an official of the State Intelligence Department told Deccan Herald.

“According to a report, five to six persons were sighted in Pathani suits and appeared to be carrying weapons and backpacks. WNC has expeditiously reacted to the situation by initiating an alert and informing all the coastal security stakeholders. Searches and other actions as per procedure have been initiated,” WNC spokesperson Commander Rahul Sinha said.

The Navy is liaising with the police. “Two students have said they had seen suspicious-looking men in Uran. Following the information, multiple agencies are probing it,” Director General of Police Satish Mathur said. On Friday, he will submit a report to Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K P Bakshi. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is the Home Minister and currently on an official visit to the US, has been briefed on the matter. “We have taken all measures. Our request to people is to be on alert and not panic or believe in rumours,” Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar said.

Alert at Karwar base

A high security alert has been sounded at the Sea Bird naval base in Karwar, Uttara Kannada district.