In the wake of a series of blasts that ripped through churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, leaving 290 people dead, the Indian Coast Guard has been put on high alert along the maritime border with the island nation and security has been beefed up around the naval base in Kochi.
The development came after Sri Lankan Health Minister and government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said that a local radical Muslim group National Tawheed Jamath was suspected of plotting the deadly explosions.
Amid concerns that the perpetrators of the attack might try to escape the island nation through the sea route, the Coast Guard has deployed a number of ships and Dorniers — aircraft used to conduct surveillance — to identify suspicious boats along the maritime border.
“Coast Guard on high alert along the maritime boundary with Sri Lanka. Ships and maritime surveillance aircraft Dornier have been deployed on the maritime border to prevent any attempts by suicide bombing perpetrators to escape from Sri Lanka,” ANI quoted Coast Guard sources as saying.
Another official said all ships from Coast Guard stations at Tuticorin, Mandapam and Karaikal have been pressed into service for surveillance.
Meanwhile, security has also been ramped up near the Kochi-based Southern Naval Command, which is one of the three main formations of the Indian Navy.
“In the backdrop of Sri Lanka blasts, security has been enhanced in and around Naval base as a precautionary measure. Surveillance over the sea has also been enhanced,” a Defence spokesperson said.
After a crucial meeting of the National Security Council, Sri Lankan President declared a state of emergency from midnight. While no group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks, police have so far arrested 24 people – mostly members of the same group – in connection with the blasts that also killed seven Indian nationals.
(With agency inputs)