The Big News
Nation-wide alert sounded after Rajnath reviews security, states issued advisory
In view of intelligence inputs that some Pakistan-based terror groups may carry out attacks in various parts of the country, the central government on Friday issued a nation-wide alert and directed states to heighten vigil to foil any such attempts.
In an advisory, the Union Home Ministry conveyed to the states that additional forces should be deployed in all sensitive places, strategic installations, markets, religious places and other key areas to ensure security, an official source said here.
The centre also directed that metropolitan cities should be particularly asked to be extra vigilant.
According to sources, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat — four states bordering Pakistan — have been asked to be extra vigilant as there are reports that some terrorists and suicide attackers might have crossed over to India during the last one month or so, and could act now as part of their retaliation to the “surgical strikes” by the Indian Army across the Line of Control (LoC).
The directives came close on the heels of Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewing the national security scenario with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, top officials of the Home Ministry, and the top brass of various central security organisations including the Border Security Force (BSF).
“Elements in Pakistan and terror groups may try to carry out attacks in India, including in some vulnerable installations in the metropolis, to avenge the surgical strikes that left significant casualties both among terror groups and regular Pakistan army,” a source said.
The surgical strikes by the army came 10-11 days after Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists had attacked an army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir which left 19 Indian soldiers martyred.
Earlier during the day, Home Minister Singh reviewed the security situation in the country, particularly along the border with Pakistan in states like Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, and directed central security organisations to be on high alert.
“BSF and other central police organisations functioning under the Home Ministry have been put on high alert along the India-Pakistan border,” an official source later said.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) top brass have been asked to intensify security at all industrial units, airports and other locations wherever they are deployed. All BSF units deployed along the international border in Jammu, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat have been directed to step up vigil.
The BSF has been ordered to increase the number of personnel deployed at sensitive posts along the Pakistan border, the sources said.
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and top officials of security and intelligence agencies also attended the review meeting. Rajnath Singh also held separate meetings with the chiefs of important central security forces, including National Security Guard (NSG), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and CISF.
Singh met CISF Director General O.P. Singh, NDRF Director General R.K. Pachnanda and NSG chief Sudhir Pratap Singh and discussed general preparedness.
These were routine meetings but were significant in the wake of the army’s surgical strikes across the LoC, sources added.
Police, Paramilitary Convoy Attacked In Jammu And Kashmir
Terrorists opened fire on a joint patrol of police and paramilitary forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam on Friday.
No one was injured, said reports.
The attack comes at a time security has been increased along the border amid tension over India’s surgical strikes in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir against terrorists prepping for attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and metros. Seven terror launch pads were targeted in the strikes, during which troops went around 2 km deep into territory occupied by Pakistan.
The home ministry has asked metros across the country to be vigilant for the next 30 days.
Thousands of civilians have been evacuated from villages near the border in Jammu and Kashmir as well as Punjab.