An alert has been sounded in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra fearing a possible disruption by terror elements following the death of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a military operation by the US at Abbotabad in Pakistan on Monday morning.
Deputy commissioner of police (DCP), operation, Rajkumar Vhatkar, told HT on Monday that a “general alert” had been sounded across the city. “We are on guard. All police stations have been sensitised and are doing the needful,” Vhatkar said, adding that surveillance at all vital areas and places of religious importance had been stepped up. He said although there was no specific input about disruption by terror elements, “we are not taking any chances”. He said the general alert would remain in place for a few days.
The city police’s elite commando forces such as the Force One and Quick Response Team had been asked to take guard at strategic positions. Special inspector general of police (IGP) Gulabrao Pol told HT a similar ‘general alert’ had been sounded across the state.
Police have been instructed to make deployments wherever necessary to avoid any emergency. Special emphasis has been laid on the security of Maharashtra’s coast and the Coast Guard had been asked to seal the coasts for the next 48 hours. Checking of vehicles coming into the state has been stepped up and sniffer dogs, too, have been deployed to check vehicles. “All important places and vital installations have been given cover,” Pol said.
Several sleeper cells of these terror groups are suspected to be hibernating in the state. The police fear Osama’s death may cause these cells to show their presence by triggering blasts. “They may do it to register their capability even in the absence of the leader,” said a senior IPS officer.