Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba is planning a second coastal terror attack on India and the timing is reported to be sometime during the third month of September, according to intelligence inputs.
Five major ports on the western coast including Mumbai Port Trust and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust have been put on red alert following a specific intelligence input from the Coast Guard. The other ports are Mormuago port in Goa, New Mangalore Port and Cochin Port.
The confidential “advisory” was received from intelligence agencies which indicate that the Lashkar is planning to carry out the attack by infiltrating a large group through the coasts around the third week of September.
Mumbai's coastline has been put on red alert till September 25. Similarly in the hinterland, all major railway stations in Delhi have been asked to stop selling platform tickets till September 25, as a precautionary measure to keep a watch on terror activity.
“We don't want to take any chance since the alert has come at an unusual time, not around important national events like Republic Day”, a senior port official said.
The US and Israel had also informed India about a major terror strike in the third week of September. The US has advised its nationals to be careful while visiting India during this period.
Three immediate measures have been put in place to tackle the terror threat. One, entry of fishing boats and short=distance merchant ship movement has been restricted inside port limits till further notice. Two, CISF jawans are patrolling Mumbai port trust's three major docks, Indira, Princess and Victoria, on the lookout of terror activity. Three, Immigration officials have been asked to physically verify entry of passengers and visitors.
This is not the first time intelligence inputs have warned that terrorists might use waterways to target the country's western and eastern coastlines.
A few months after 26/11 Mumbai attack, the Indian Navy said commercial vessels might be used to smuggle in arms and explosives.
The situation this time has become a little more complicated because of the impending elections.
Port officials complained that vehicles meant for patrolling were being picked by Collectorate officials for election duty. This week alone eight vehicles from the Mumbai Port Trust were seized for election duty.
“Are elections more important or the country's security? How are we to carry out patrolling with limited infrastructure?'' a senior official asked.
Several police stations, the crime branch, the ATS and port security staff have all reviewed security. It is learnt that the IB was monitoring phone calls and monitoring a few suspects' movements when they came to know of the latest terror plot. These alerts, officials said, were routine but should not be taken lightly.