The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has sounded a high alert for Mumbai ahead of Independence Day and urged the city police to illuminate its eastern and western coasts to intercept any suspicious movements.
The ICG’s Regional Commander (West) has written to the Mumbai Police on Monday asking it to shore up coastal security after receiving “serious intelligence inputs” about a possible terrorist attack from the sea.
Coast Guard sources said that security around the city’s eastern and western coasts is usually intensified in the run-up to Independence Day. “Given the tense situation prevailing in the country at present the threat perception of an attack has increased,” an official said.
Following the ICG’s alert, Rashmi Karandikar, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Port Zone, has instructed police stations with coastal jurisdictions to place armed policemen on night patrols and identify sensitive spots. The police have also been asked to install bright lights at 70 landing spots in Mumbai to help spot suspicious or unidentified vessels.
The police have been instructed to ensure that vehicles aren’t parked near landing points and to regularly check garbage bins and ditches in the area for suspicious objects. Special care has also been placed on ensuring that terror suspects do not take refuge in shanties lining the coast, the police said.
Meanwhile, patrolling has also been intensified at beaches, mangroves and fishing jetties with the police also activating the fishing community to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Security at landing points, shops and religious establishments adjoining the coast has also been beefed up.
In the monsoon, the city witnesses very little movement of small vessels as heavy rainfall and high tides bring fishing activity and local ferries to a standstill.
Security along the city’s coastline has remained a matter of concern for the police ever since 10 Pakistani terrorists had landed in a boat at Badhwar Park, Cuffe Parade, on November 26, 2008, and proceeded to kill 166 people and injure over 300 more. On at least two instances since then, suspicious boats have been intercepted off the city’s coast by the ICG and both were found to be unregistered vessels, allegedly used for smuggling contraband.