A day after 290 people were killed and over 500 got injured in a series of suicide bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, the Indian government on Monday placed its Coast Guard on high alert along the maritime border with Sri Lanka to prevent any attempt by terrorists to flee Lanka and enter India. Apart from this, security has been tightened at the seaports, strategic installations, and locations in the coastal areas. In Mumbai, the Coast Guard and local police are extra vigilant keeping in mind that Pakistan-based terrorists had entered the city via sea route in 2008 and unleashed terror in the city.
It is noteworthy that Mumbai has been one of the most preferred targets for terrorist organisations and has witnessed several terror attacks, including explosions in Mumbai suburban trains in July 2006, and the unprecedented attacks of November 26, 2008.
Maharashtra Minister of State for Home (Rural) Deepak Kesarkar said, “If we detect unidentified articles, it should be reported to the police. If you notice any suspicious person, then you must immediately inform the police. Terrorism activities were not occurring in Sri Lanka hence their government might not have taken adequate precaution. In India, more precaution is being taken.”
“New police stations have been established in coastal areas. We have procured six new boats on rental basis and for that Rs 54 crore has been sanctioned. Intercepting boats can travel beyond 5 nautical miles,” he added.
According to the sources, ships and maritime surveillance aircraft Dornier deployed on the maritime border to prevent any attempts by suicide bombing perpetrators to escape from Sri Lanka. Earlier in the day, officials said that Indian Coast Guard apprehended four Indian fishermen from the 4th islet in Rama Setu near Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram Island. They were later released after being interrogated at the Mandapam Coast Guard station.
Minister of State for Home (Urban) Dr. Ranjit Patil said, “We receive inputs about security threats. A meeting is held pertaining to internal security and combing operations are carried out in susceptible areas. It is not because bomb blast incidents have occurred in Sri Lanka, we are being cautious as we already had suffered a lot. So, it is a routine part of the exercise. We are keeping a watch with police on duty. Intelligence is doing its duty.”
In the wake of the serial bomb blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and police have stepped security along the coastal lines to prevent any possible infiltration from Sri Lanka via sea route. At least six Indians are among the dead in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena declared a nationwide emergency from Monday midnight. Health Minister of Sri Lanka Rajitha Senaratne said that a local radical Muslim group with international connections is behind the serial blasts. All suicide bombers are believed to be Sri Lankan nationals. The local terror outfit is identified as the National Thawheed Jamaat. Seven suicide bombers carried out eight blasts that targeted Churches and five-star hotels. The police have arrested 24 suspects in the connection with blasts.
Sources claimed that this is a typical Islamic State attack, the way the blasts have been synchronised and orchestrated. The Indian government is working closely with Lanka on the matter. The Islamic State is suspected because of the nature of the attack, but a thorough probe is required on the type of explosive used and the kind of detonator used. The sites of the attack were chosen to attract international attention. A coordinated blast on Easter will have a huge global impact. While Sri Lanka has a history of LTTE-led terror sources and described it as a matter of the past and alleged that a local module of ISIS seeking revenge for the New Zealand mosque attack could be behind Sunday’s episode.