More than two years after the November 26, 2008, terror attacks, which left more than 160 people dead, holes in Mumbai’s coastal security have once again been exposed. In April this year, 10 men entered Mumbai using the same modus operandi, navigational chart and sea route, which the 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives had used to get into the city before the 26/11 attacks.
The 10-member team, like the LeT fidayeen of 26/11, landed at Badhwar Park in Colaba and walked into the city without any security agencies knowing about them. The fishermen community from Badhwar Park also did not notice or report the ‘infiltration’ to security agencies.
Thankfully for Mumbaiites, the ‘infiltrators’ this time were not terrorists but Coast Guard personnel carrying out an exercise, which proved the city’s vulnerability to another 26/11-type attack. The Coast Guard officials, who initiated the operation and highlighted issues of coastal security during the state’s security review meeting, slammed the lackadaisical approach of state agencies in securing the city’s coast.
“It is almost impossible for one agency to monitor all landing points in Maharashtra round the clock. There is an immediate need to organise the fishing industry,” said a Coast Guard official, who was actively involved in the operation.
After the 26/11 attacks, the state government was asked to organise the fishing sector in a manner like in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, but nothing concrete has been worked out yet, added the official.