Security forces in Kolkata are on high alert following a central intelligence warning that the city’s port may be the target of an attack by militants posing as fishermen, home ministry officials told HT on Tuesday.
Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) headquarters in Delhi alerted top West Bengal and Kolkata Police officials on Monday through an email, cautioning them of a possible attack on the port by Pakistani navy-backed terrorists.
“We came to know about the alert from CISF,” said deputy commissioner of police (port division) Imran Wahab. “We had a meeting with them late in the night. Representatives from the Indian navy were also present and we discussed precautionary measures.”
The navy moved out two warships, INS Khukri and INS Sumitra, which were supposed to be open to the public on Wednesday and Thursday, after receiving the alert and increased patrolling in the sea to look out for any threat.
“Marine patrolling at the India-Bangladesh sea border in the Bay of Bengal has been enhanced in view of the alert,” said Commodore Ravi Ahluwalia. “We have electronic surveillance on seagoing vessels, especially the fishing trawlers plying in the region.”
The alert comes as authorities are probing last month’s bomb blast at Burdwan district that revealed a terror network in districts along the India-Bangladesh border. According to the latest warning, terrorists are likely to enter Indian waters posing as fishermen.
These terrorist are backed by Pakistan navy and are assisted by Pakistan marines, an elite marine commando force, the alert said.
“Intelligence inputs suggested that Kolkata port might be a target. It was promptly shared with all stakeholders – port authorities, Navy, Coast Guard, Kolkata police and other counter terror agencies and they have asked to remain on high alert,” a Union home ministry official said, requesting anonymity.
Kolkata Police, CISF and navy officials reviewed the security arrangements of the port areas and along the Hooghly river. Sources said navy officials have told Kolkata police and the CISF that security will also have to be tightened at Haldia Port.