The city railway police have been put on alert after an improvised explosive device (IED) was found in the Mumbai-bound Mahanagri Express in Uttar Pradesh on Friday.
In the backdrop of the recent arrests of two Islamic State (ISIS) sympathisers from the state, the Mumbai railway police have been asked to conduct train checks and frisking of passengers originating from north India.
Officials suspect the handiwork of an ISIS sleeper module existing in Uttar Pradesh with which arrested sympathisers Alim Ahmad (arrested from Lucknow) and Rizwan Ahmad (arrested from Kushinagar) were allegedly associated with.
This is a second official alert issued in Mumbai after the Pathankot terror attack with the police having been asked to keep a tab on movement of passengers and goods in “outstation trains”.
On January 18, the Hindustan Times had reported of the state government’s terror advisory mentioning possibility of a similar kind of attack on local trains.
Officials said a verbal order was issued to all the 17 Government Railway Police (GRP) stations in Mumbai asking them to keep a strict vigil on stations and terminals.
“The order also asked the GRP to conduct thorough checks in the trains that come from the north and focus on frisking the luggage of the passengers travelling on these trains,” said a GRP officer.
The GRP stations have been asked to increase the vigilance on railway stations and have maximum force on platforms. The bomb squads have also been asked to conduct frequent checks on stations. Stations have been under the cover of the Quick Response Team and railway police commandos since the Republic Day.
“After the IED was found in the Mahanagri Express, we have asked all the personnel to be on an alert and increase presence of plain-clothed police on stations. A set of instructions have also been issued for passenger safety,” said Madhukar Pandey, GRP commissioner.