30 August 2009
South India on terrorist radar
Pramod Kumar, New Delhi
Aug. 29: The latest inputs with the Central intelligence agencies reveal that big cities in South India are the next targets of Pakistan-based militant organisations.
According to the new intelligence, the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammad have been assigned the job of setting up the maximum number of sleeper cells in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.
Talking to this newspaper, a high-ranking official of a Central intelligence agency said, “The inputs reveal that sensitive installations and big cities of South India are the next targets. Pakistani agencies, including the ISI, have assigned this job to the LeT and JeM. There are confirmed reports that they have asked for a large number of sleeper cells in cities like Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Thiruvan-anthapuram and other important places in South India.” “There are several sensitive installations located in South India. The state police forces have been alerted in this regard. Besides, Central security agencies guarding sensitive installations have been alerted. They are already on high alert after the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008,” said the official.
The official added, “Some people from Kerala have been spotted near Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir. These two districts are close to the international border. The state police is keeping a close vigil on their activities. Despite repeated efforts by state security forces, the people from Kerala failed to provide satisfactory reasons for their presence in these two border districts of J&K.” Further, the interrogation of some militants in J&K has revealed that their next targets are big cities in South India, said the official.
There are reports that LeT and JeM have started recruiting agents for sleeper cells in South India. While in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh they have already started the process, in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu they are looking for trained hands, said the official.