Ahmedabad/New Delhi: The Centre has rushed four teams of the National Security Guard (NSG) to Gujarat following reports that 10 Pakistani militants have entered the state and may target sensitive installations. The police, on the other hand, have launched an extensive manhunt to nab all the terrorists.
The state has been put on high alert after intelligence inputs from Pakistan's National Security Adviser (NSA) Nasir Khan Janjua to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval that nearly 10 terrorists have entered the western state to carry out attacks during the Shivratri festival.
The alert holds significance as the BSF has found another abandoned Pakistani trawler in the Sir Creek area in Kutch, the fifth such discovery in the last three months.
Following the inputs from Pakistan, security has been stepped up at all sensitive locations in the states. Also, all security agencies have been asked to remain on high alert and be prepared to foil any attempt by terrorists to carry out strikes.
State Director General of Police P C Thakur, who issued orders late last night cancelling leave of all policemen, said they were prepared to deal with any situation. "We are on high alert and prepared to deal with any situation. We have started combing operations across various locations. We have also sensitised places that see high rate of footfall," Thakur said.
"We are taking all precautions. Security across coastal areas and other vital installations has been increased. If required, NSG team will be deployed as per their protocol," he added.
This is the first time that Pakistan has shared such specific intelligence.
A massive security operation has been launched and raids were conducted by a police team, led by South Kutch Superintendent of Police Makrand Chauhan, early this morning in Varnora village of Bhuj taluka in Kutch district bordering Pakistan, police said. The Kutch police also raided Noorani Mahel hotel and Muslim Jamat Khana in Bhuj.
"The state government received a serious information from central government yesterday that terrorists have entered Gujarat. We held a meeting where it was discussed that all measures will be taken to ensure no untoward incident takes place," Gujarat Minister of State for Home Rajni Patel said.
With 'Maha Shivaratri' festival tomorrow, the state government has also increased security at all the main temples. "Especially during Maha Shivratri, lakhs of pilgrims visit temples in Junagadh, Somnath and other temples. So we have issued high alert for security of these temples too," Patel said.
According to Intelligence Bureau officials, nearly 8-10 LeT terrorists have infiltrated into the state from the Kutch area. Places like Dwarka, Somnath temple and other temples close to the sea are likely to be targeted by the terrorists.
Policemen were seen patrolling the highways since early morning. Security of all the Air Force and Army bases has also been ramped up. "The Centre has offered all help and NSG task-force has arrived here which is currently being briefed about the various (vital and sensitive) locations," he said.
"We have alerted coastal as well as border police near Kutch to take all necessary steps to beef-up security. In Kutch, we have asked the local police to remain in co-ordination with Border Security Force (BSF)," Patel said.
"Till now, we have not found any suspicious person. However, whatever information is received by us is serious and we are taking all necessary steps about it," Patel added.
BSF sources said that the boat was noticed in the creek area by a patrol team and has been brought for further investigation. Prima facie, it seems to be a fishing boat and there was no suspicious object found in it.
Earlier two such boats, including one with a hunting gun, were found in the same area in the second half of last month and one such boat was also found in Sir Creek area on January 16. Another abandoned Pakistani boat was seized near Haraminala in December last year.
An official said the recovery of boats in the area, which is rich in sea food, was not very unusual as Pakistani fishermen would at times stealthily enter the marshy area to catch prawns and they would abandon the boat and escape if they suspect or see any BSF patrol boat in the vicinity.
However, sources said that recovery of such boats in quick succession could be a matter of security concern and was being looked into. Terror elements could use such boats.
A top Army Commander yesterday said that there are some ‘disturbing' inputs about a terror attack in India aimed at creating the ‘maximum media impact' during the Shivratri festival and the ongoing Parliament session.
"There are security-related problems today. You know, Maha Shivratri is coming. There are inputs which are disturbing but notwithstanding that extra care has been taken," Western Army Commander Lt Gen K J Singh told reporters here on the sidelines of a function.