Nepal has beefed up security in and around the Koshi Barrage located near the border with India following a report that militant groups could target the structure which plays a key role in controlling the flow of water in both countries.
Officials in Kathmandu and Sunsari district, where the barrage is located, told Hindustan Times they had received an intelligence report from the Indian side that the flood control structure might be targeted by terrorists.
“The Indian side alerted us about the possible security threat in areas along the Nepal-India border, particularly in Koshi Barrage area, but has not mentioned which group had issued such a threat,” home ministry spokesperson Yadav Koirala told Hindustan Times.
The Indian alert mentioned that terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Indian Mujahideen could target vital installations such as the barrage, Mohan Bahadur Chapagin, head of the administration in Nepal’s Sunsari district, was quoted as saying by the local media.
However, a senior Indian embassy official in Kathmandu said on condition of anonymity that the “Indian side had shared intelligence inputs with the Nepal government and urged it to increase security presence in the area without mentioning any particular group or organisations”.
Following the Indian alert last week, the Nepali side put in place foolproof security measures around the barrage which was completed in 1962. The Koshi, a lifeline for millions of people in the two countries, is currently flowing above the danger level after torrential rains.
The Nepali Army, Armed Police Force, Nepal Police and National Investigation Department had been put on high alert to foil any terrorist activities, Koirala said.
As part of a strategy to foil an attack, authorities had also banned fishing and collecting wood from the swollen river, another official said.
The security establishment in Kathmandu has been on high alert since the July 1 terror attack on a café in the Bangladesh capital that claimed 20 lives, most of them foreigners. It has also been in touch with Indian authorities to prevent similar attacks.
Nepal held a special meeting after the Dhaka attack to review the security situation and decided to increase vigilance along the frontier with India to prevent the entry of militants.