The three monsoon months of June, July and August are what counter-terrorism units and intelligence agencies across Maharashtra are particularly wary off as it is during this period that the homegrown terrorist outfit Indian Mujahideen carries out terror strikes in the state, said police sources.
While the threat from a Twitter handle has made the state step up vigil, intelligence agencies have alerted of a possible strike in Mumbai as early as the first week of June.
The Twitter account seemingly created by Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the blasts at Bodh Gaya in Bihar on Sunday, and threatened to strike Mumbai within a week.
This has made authorities ask police stations in Mumbai and the state to step up patrolling till September, said sources.
Confirming the alert, a senior police officer said, “The serial train blasts of 2006 took place in July, and so did the 13/7 serial blasts at Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar in 2011. The low-intensity blasts in Pune last year were carried out in August.”
An internal survey conducted by agencies shows it is during the monsoon months that policing is slack.
“The terrorists could have studied the policing pattern, and may have chosen this time of the year as it would be comparatively easier for them to execute a strike and escape,” he said.
The Maharashtra anti-terrorist squad (ATS) had alerted police stations after it received information of a possible terror strike in July.
The ATS’ interrogation of Syed Feroz, Irfan Landge, Imran Khan, Asad Khan, Sayyed Arif alias Kashif Biyabani, Munib Iqbal Memon, Farooq Bagwan and Aslam Jahagirdar alias Bunty, arrested for their alleged role in the Pune blasts, had revealed the plan to conduct a terror strike in Mumbai.
Two IM operatives Sayyed and Pathan had conducted reconnaissance at Bandra, Santacruz, Juhu, Andheri and Jogeshwari at the instance of fugitive terrorist Riyaz Bhatkal, said sources.