As a precautionary measure, the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) of Goa police is keeping a close watch on those people who have flown to the state from ISIS conflict zones, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar informed the Assembly on Friday. “ATS is tracking down the foreigners who have flown here from conflict zones infested by ISIS terror. We are also monitoring the online activity through social media so that there is no indoctrination,” Parsekar said speaking on a private member resolution moved by Leader of Opposition Pratapsinh Rane “to have well trained Anti-Terrorist Squad due to the present world situation of terrorism”.
While supporting the resolution, which was later passed unanimously on the floor of the House, Parsekar said intelligence wing of ATS is keeping a track on radical organisations which are banned in the country. The Chief Minister said mock drills are being conducted regularly with other security agencies to have better understanding with them. “The process has began to procure bullet proof jackets and helmets for the ATS staff,” Parsekar told the House. “There cannot be a fool proof solution on this issue but people in general will have to be made aware about their responsibilities.”
The Chief minister stated that the ATS’ Intelligence wing has been keeping a close watch on the migrants and tenants, and also are having periodical inspection of the registered and unregistered tenants. Former chief minister Rane moving the resolution suspected the possibility of having sleeper cell in the state. “Terrorism has become order of the day. We find that most unsuspecting places are being attacked. We can’t be sleeping. We are a tourist state,” the Leader of Opposition said.
He added, “ISIS has been recruiting youth. There are lot of youth who are going towards Syria. We don’t want to fall prey to such a situation.” Recalling that sometime ago there was an attempt in Goa by a group to indoctrinate few individuals in his constituency by holding close door meetings, he said but people shooed them away. “I had informed the Chief Minister and police about the issue. Such characters should be apprehended,” he said. Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza said that the porous borders of the state borders were a reason for worry.
“There is a big threat to Goa. Terrorists have lived here and gone in the past. There cannot be fool-proof security but we can do a lot,” he said. Calangute MLA Michael Lobo demanded that ATS should be stationed in the coastal belt of North Goa where foreigners frequent more.