President Barack Obama's visit may be a diplomatic victory for PM Modi, but as far as security goes, it has turned out to be a nightmare for officials.
The national capital has turned into a fortress ahead of Obama's visit, with local security teams butting heads with US state agencies. A no-fly zone around Rajpath and nearby areas will be imposed for the duration of the Republic Day parade, security agencies will partly or completely shut down 71 high rise buildings in the vicinity of Rajpath and a seven-layer security ring will be thrown around the VVIP enclosure to ensure the safety of the visiting president.
However, the threat of terror is not just limited to POTUS and the national capital.
A terror strike anywhere in the country during Obama's visit will be a huge blow to India's credibility and count as a victory for Pakistan-based terror organisations. And the IB has warned that four states - Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are facing a very real threat of terrorist strikes.
According to a report in the Times of India, what is most worrying about the alert is that it indicates that several terror organisations have joined hands to perpetrate the attacks.
"The Intelligence Bureau inputs state that four Pakistan-based terrorist groups—Jamat-Ud-Dawa, Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e- Mohammed—have dispatched four terror modules to India, which may carry out the attacks before January 28", the report said.
The IB alert also reportedly warns that the attacks are likely to be carried out on places of religious worship.
In Mumbai, the popular Siddhivinayak temple has been named as a potential target, leading to police stepping up security around it, said a report in The Tribune. The intelligence input has also named a five member team - Abdullah Qureshi, Nasir Ali, Javed Iqbal, Mobid and Shamsher - who have been dispatched to Mumbai.
The report quoted the Dadar police as saying, "a sniffer dog squad has been kept on standby near the shrine and shops selling prasad items have been asked to install CCTVs as a precautionary measure. Armed policemen have also been stationed behind sandbags at various points around the temple."
Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria told the Times of India that "In the wake of the alert from the Centre, I have personally reviewed the law and order situation in the metro. We have enhanced security and taken all possible measures to thwart any attempt to disturb peace in Mumbai. Policemen in the field have been specifically instructed to be on high alert. Physical checks and frisking too have been increased".
In Odisha, government put all districts in the state on high alert after the IB warning.
Odisha Special Secretary, Home, Lalit Das was quoted by the IANS news agency as saying, "Odisha's DGP and Intelligence Director have been informed about the situation. All the districts of the state have been put on high alert. The police have been also told to keep tight vigil on important installations to avoid possible terror attacks," adding that All the 18 marine police stations have been asked to be extra vigilant.
Officials in UP however were quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying that they were unaware of the IB warning "but Agra and adjoining districts were already on high alert ahead of Obama’s January 27 visit. Two senior officers were camping in the city with US and Indian agencies jointly monitoring security drills."
Rajasthan director general of police Omendra Bhardwaj also told Hindustan Times that he didn’t know about the IB input, adding that police were already on alert.
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Updated Date: Jan 23, 2015 11:42:26 IST