BY: SANTOSHEE GULABKALI MISHRA
The Intelligence Bureau has issued a specific alert of a possible “human bomb” targeting a rally of BJP prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi.
According to sources, the IB alert says the attack may be on the lines of assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi by the LTTE in 1991. The “highly specific” input states that while Modi won’t be shot at, a suicide bomber may target him disguised as a supporter. The alert does not specify the gender of the likely bomber.
The agencies suspect any assassination attempt would be most likely in Modi’s own constituencies of Varanasi and Vadodara.
A red alert concerning a threat to Modi was first issued after he was declared BJP’s PM candidate. Officers in at least three agencies, including the National Investigation Agency (NIA), have been working on specific phone intercepts picked up early August 2013, which have now been shaped into a credible intelligence input.
“The agencies are also working on messages picked up from social networking sites coinciding with poll announcements,” said a senior official.
Security agencies are tracking “floating” members of outfits like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Indian Mujahideen (IM), and former cadres of SIMI. At least two cells are working on terrorists from splinter groups like the Hizbul Mujahideen.
The IB has issued inputs regarding the security protocol to several states, particularly Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. “We are keeping a live channel open with these states,” confirmed a senior intelligence official.
While security protocols for some other candidates, including Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal, are being worked out, the agencies have instructed at least two states to press in “maximum manpower” during Modi’s rallies.
The NIA also has provided leads picked up from interrogation of IM terrorist Yasin Bhatkal on a possible conspiracy to target Modi.