IS threat to pilgrims: police downplay advisory

IS threat to pilgrims: police downplay advisory

IS threat to pilgrims: police downplay advisory

Amid concerns over a security advisory issued by a railway police official in Thrissur regarding plans by pro-Islamic State (IS) elements to target non-Muslims in trains and at railway stations, the Kerala Police said there was  "no need to panic".

A sub-inspector (SI) at the railway police station in Thrissur is learnt to have written to the manager at the Thrissur railway station, highlighting threats that "poisoned" food and drinking water could be distributed among pilgrims to the Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala and other places of worship.

Referring to an intelligence report on possible IS attacks on non-Muslim groups, the  SI sought measures from the Railways to ensure safe food and drinking water to the pilgrims.

A senior railway police official said the information passed on to the station manager was meant for internal purposes and did not point to any specific threat.  

"The person in charge of the police station appears to have sent out the note based on information which was only meant for internal communication. But the information is not linked to any specific threat. For instance, we always keep a watch on places where passengers collect water. These are standard measures," the official told DH.

State police chief Loknath Behera also clarified that such measures were part of normal policing.

Behera said many threat messages, claimed to be from the IS, were being shared on social media. The police are checking the veracity of the messages.

"While inquiring into such aspects, we also normally give certain alert messages to the authorities concerned, as a precaution and to remain alert," Behera said. The DGP appealed to the public to not fall prey to such messages and desist from spreading them.

In the subject line of his advisory note, the railway police SI refers to the terrorist outfit's reported plans to poison drinking water and drive trucks into crowds.

The alert comes two weeks after reports emerged on an audio clip in which Abdul Rashid, a IS recruiter from Kasaragod, was heard calling for lone-wolf terror strikes on non-Muslim congregations and poisoning of food distributed among such groups.