Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Synagogues, Zaveri Bazar put on terror alert

Security has been increased outside four synagogues in the city after the recent alert

Many Areas In City On IM Radar, Says ATS Note

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: A two-page confidential report, signed by state ATS chief Rakesh Maria, has asked city police to review and provide heavy security to 11 spots in the city which featured in a reconnaissance mission by Indian Mujahideen operatives in August. 

    The places mentioned in the report include four synagogues: Magen Hassidim Synagogue (Agripada), Magen David Synagogue (next to ATS head quarters at Nagpada), Shaare Rason synagogue (Dongri) and Shaar Harahamim synagogue (Pydhonie). The other places reportedly on

the IM hit list include the Mumbai police commissionerate, Zaveri Bazar, Mumbadevi temple, Mumbai Central bus depot, Mumbai Central railway station, Crawford market, Kalbadevi/Mangaldas
market and Lohar chawl. 
    Security personnel posted outside the Jewish places of worship are not even allowing passers-by to stop near the places.     The alert was sounded following revelations dur
ing the custodial interrogation of IM founder Yasin Bhatkal. 
    “Interrogation of the arrested accused Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar of the IM have revealed that synagogues and other locations in Mumbai were surveyed by their operatives in the first week of August 2013,” said the report, a copy of which is with the TOI.    “A detailed study has been conducted of the places supposedly recced by IM operatives. It is also requested to ensure that no unidentified object is allowed to be placed in or around the potential targets apart from other professional steps to thwart any such terror attack in Mumbai and around. This may be accorded top priority,” the report added. 
    The report has been sent to Sanjiv Dayal, directorgeneral of police, K L Prasad, commissioner, state intelligence bureau (SIB) and Gurbachan Singh, joint director, SIB.
    Meanwhile, the security agencies are trying to verify an intelligence input that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jamat-ud-Dawa are chalking out a plan to carry out attacks on the Indian Army and an Indian security agency. 

    The intelligence input stated that the ISI , the Pakistani intelligence agency, and radical trainers from that country, besides China and a Gulf country, are training over 100 terrorists to trigger mobileoperated suicide vests, at at least three camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The input was part of a power-point presentation by Vinayak Apte, dep
uty director, state intelligence bureau, at a subsidiary multi-agency centre (SMAC) meeting held days before Bhatkal was captured. 

The minutes of the meeting, which are with the TOI, stated, “Hizbul Mujahideen and the ISI are also planning to push fidayeen squads into India through the Line of Control/Nepal border. Following the conviction of Mirza Himayat Baig, IM elements may carry out revenge attacks.” 
Bhatkal and Akhtar were shown as arrested on August 28. Bhatkal faces at least 16 cases of terror conspiracy/attacks in India, including the German Bakery blast in Pune.
Times View
Afzal Usmani’s escape seems scarier seen in the light of what Yasin Bhatkal has been telling his interrogators. Some action has started on Usmani’s guards. But the process must end in punishment which will deter this type of shoddiness that can prove costly for the nation and its citizens.
THE 11 SPOTS PUT ON ALERT Mumbai police commissionerate, Zaveri Bazar, Mumbadevi mandir, Mumbai Central bus depot, Mumbai central railway station, Crawford market, Kalbadevi/Mangaldas Market/Lohar chawl, Magen Hassidim Synagogue (Agripada), Magen David Synagogue (next to ATS headquarters at Nagpada), Shaare Rason Synagogue (Dongri) and Shaar Harahamim Synagogue (Pydhonie)
Mumbadevi Mandir A powerful bomb went off near Mumbadevi mandir at Zaveri Bazar on August 25, 2003, killing more than 30 people. The attack was allegedly carried out by the ‘Gujarat Muslims’ Revenge Force’, which claimed it wanted to avenge the 2002 Gujarat riots
Zaveri Bazar A powerful RDX bomb went off on July 13, 2011, killing 15 people and injuring over 50 others. The bombs were allegedly planted in various parts of the city by operatives of the banned outfi t, the Indian Mujahideen
Mumbai Central Station A bomb went off at McDonald’s, located within the premises of Mumbai Central railway station, on December 6, 2002, injuring 25 persons
Mumbai Police Commissionerate After the arrest of suspected IM operative Faheem Ansari, police claimed that he had surveyed 12 places in Mumbai in 2007-08, including the city police commissioner’s office. It prompted tighter security. Later, in 2012, police reviewed the security of the commissionerate after a new threat
Mangaldas Market/Lohar Chawl After the arrest of two suspected terror suspects in 2010, the state ATS claimed they wanted to blow up Mangaldas market near Lohar chawl, besides Borivli’s Thakkar Mall and the ONGC headquarters
Anti-Terror Squad Offi ce (Not part of the current alert) An earlier input in June this year said that some terror suspects were trying to target the state ATS headquarters at Nagpada. Following the alert, the parking of police vehicles in the compound was banned. Moreover, new door metal frame detectors, CCTV cameras and hand detectors were installed in the building. ATS offi cers were also instructed to meet their sources outside the offi ce to prevent any untoward incident in the building

The Times of India, September 25, 2013

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