Mumbai: Security across Mumbai has been beefed up after an intelligence alert about a possible attack by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) on railway stations and other prominent locations.
A circular issued by the state intelligence department on Monday stated an attack could be carried out by a group of eight to 10 Pakistanis operatives of the LeT any time during the next three months.
The alert came close on the heels of LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, being released from a high security jail in Rawalpindi on the orders of a Pakistani court. The Islamabad high court on Monday gave a two-month deadline for completing the Mumbai attacks trial and said it would cancel Lakhvi’s bail if the proceedings were not completed within this period.
The circular, a copy of which was accessed, stated the attackers, likely to be fidayeens, might travel to Mumbai by sea and be assisted by local handlers. The alert further mentioned that the possible attack could be similar to the 26/11 strike that left 166 people dead and several hundreds injured.
Following the alert, the Government Railway Police (GRP) issued a circular to all 17 railway police stations in Mumbai, directing officials to step up security at railway stations.
Every railway station has multiple entry and exit points and officials were asked to keep a watch on any suspicious activity.
GRP officials were asked to work in close coordination with their counterparts in the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and seek their help to put in place watertight security cover.
“GRP commissioner Ravinder Singal issued a circular on Saturday to all railway police stations to conduct regular checks on railway premises and co-ordinate better with the Railway Protection Force. In-charges of police stations have been told to conduct meetings for sensitizing staff. Canine squads will also be pressed into action,” a GRP spokesperson said. “Multiple entries and exits at railway stations will be watched. Passengers will be adviced to report any suspicious activity to the helpline immediately.
Sources in security establishment said the wing of the LeT responsible for sea-borne attacks is headed by Abu Yakub. The module is called “ice cube” and Yakub is responsible for all sea-borne attacks, including the 2008 assault on India’s financial hub. However, even after the 2008 attacks, Yakub has not been prosecuted and continues to operate from Karachi in Pakistan, the sources claimed.
Railway intensifies patrolling on trains in Tamil Nadu
Patrolling in trains and stations has been intensified as summer vacations have begun and passenger traffic has increased more on the trains, Tamil Nadu railway police (TRP), DIG, R Baskaran said while inspecting the Madurai TRP unit on Monday.
Talking to reporters after the inspection, Baskaran said that along with regular railway police, they have roped in 400 personnel from five companies of battalion police from various places to provide security in trains. Four to five police personnel will keep vigil in the trains and ensure that doors of all coaches are locked during the journey. The policemen in coaches will open the doors in next stations, he said.
Based on previous records, selected stations like Katpadi, Salem, Jolarpet, Trichy and Villupuram stations have been brought under extra surveillance and crimes have drastically fallen in these stations in the last 25 days. It was found that on board theft in trains were carried out by groups from northern and eastern part of India and Ranchi in Jharkhand has been identified as the hub for the operation of these gangs.
A hunt was taken out for the kingpin, Hari Anand Prasad and his accomplices were arrested. The properties of Prasad have also been confiscated. They also nabbed another notorious woman robber, Meena Kumari from Andhra Pradesh recently and properties have been recovered from her, Baskaran said. He also said that passengers can file complaints while on trains also with the police personnel in the coaches, or through railway police emergency helpline number 1512. Railway police sources said that inspection by DIG is a routine one during regular intervals.
RPF restrict entry of hawkers at CST
RailNews had earlier reported as to how the hawkers at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station have encroached on railway property despite a notice prohibiting them from doing so. However, now the railway premises is totally free from the hawker menace. RailNews correspondent visited the area and observed that the Railway Protection Force (RPF) officials have been stationed to ensure that there is no encroachment now.
Speaking to RailNews, Alok Bohra, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner of RPF said, “We are taking strict measures in order to ensure that no hawkers encroach the area anymore. I have personally deployed staff to ensure that no hawking should be done in the railway premises. If I still find hawkers in our railway premises, then punitive action against the concerned officer would be taken immediately.”