Are the cities of Uttar Pradesh on the radar of the terrorists after Pune blast?
The Lashkar-e-Taiyebba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley had stayed at hotel in Pune close to the German Bakery that was targeted by the terrorists on Saturday.
While Tahawwur Hussain Rana an associate of Headley has visited the cities of West UP including Agra,Hapur and Meerut in November 2008. In Agra Rana stayed at a hotel located close to Taj Mahal and carried out recce of the area around Taj that is favourite joint of the American and European tourists.
Later both Headley and Rana were arrested by FBI for plotting terror attack in India and Denmark. Intelligence Bureau in its advisory has alerted the state government that Pakistan based terrorist groups might target the tourists and religious spots. “Rana might have conducted recce of Taj as well as other spots visited by foreign tourists and passed the information to LeT”, a police officer said.
Both Headley and Rana were in touch with the Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives during their stay in India. The call details of IM militant Dr Shahnawaz wanted by the police in Delhi serial bomb blast case collected by Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) indicates that he was in touch with Headley and Rana. “Though the identity of the terrorist organization that targeted German Bakery is yet to be established the involvement of IM can not be ruled out”, sources said.
Following the advisory of the Union Home Ministry the state government has already beefed up security measures at Kanpur. “The bomb blast at German Bakery in Pune was carried to target the foreigners. The securities measures have been also tightened at the spots visited by the foreign tourists in UP including Agra and Varanasi”, the police officer said.
Talking to HT ADG (Law and Order), Brij Lal said the district police chief of Kanpur has been directed to increase vigil in the sensitive areas. Though the state police had not received any specific input from the Home Ministry yet checks are being conducted at the suspected hideouts of the terrorists. The police officers have been also directed to keep watch on the rail and road traffic coming from Delhi”, he said.
According to sources the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in its advisory has also alerted the government that spots visited by foreign tourists particularly American and European are on the radar of Al Qaeda and Pakistan based terrorist groups. In a meeting held recently the Al Qaeda second in command Ayman al- Zawahiri has stated that three Pakistan trained terrorists trained in the use of explosives will target the American and Europeans in various cities of India.