Central intelligence agencies have warned Jharkhand of a possible militant attack during the forthcoming assembly elections, police said on Thursday, sending the state on high alert, especially at its railway stations and bus terminuses. Jharkhand has, of late, been in news for being home to several sleeper cells of banned groups SIMI and Indian Mujahideen (IM), one of which is accused of carrying out serial blasts at an elections rally by Narendra Modi in Patna last year.
The alert comes a day after a Pakistani Taliban group, said to be behind last weekend’s suicide bombing at the India-Pakistan border, warned on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter page of carrying out attacks inside India.
Following the intelligence warning, Jharkhand police headquarters directed all districts police chiefs to heighten vigil. “All precautionary measures are being taken by (the) department to thwart any terrorist plans,” said Jharkhand police spokesperson Anurag Gupta, without giving further details on the nature of the threat to the state.
However, a senior police officer told Hindustan Times that the possibility of an attack has increased as the state was no longer a safe haven for militant groups whose sleeper cells have been broken up. The officer said possible targets could be railway stations, bus stands or political campaigns.
Police said Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and IM operatives are active in at least Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad.
In the past, the presence of even Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba sympathisers has been detected in smaller towns and remote areas of the state and police from other states have visited such places to either inquire or make arrests.