Security troops rush to Gujarat on terror fears

AHMEDABAD • India has rushed elite security forces to its western state of Gujarat after an intelligence report that some 10 militants may have crossed over from Pakistan, police said yesterday.

Security has been strengthened at all major installations in the state following a warning from the central intelligence authorities, the state police director-general said.

"A team of NSG (National Security Guard) arrived in Gujarat last night following the terror alert. The state has been put on high alert," said police director-general P.C. Thakur yesterday.

TV footage showed security men frisking visitors outside hotels, cinemas and malls.

In a notification issued by the Gujarat home department, all police chiefs were asked to return to duty immediately and report any suspicious activity.

Mr Thakur said the central authorities feared that members of banned militant outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) may have infiltrated through Kutch district, which has a land and sea border with Pakistan. India blames LeT for the 2008 Mumbai attacks which killed 166 people.

Pakistan's government has announced a ban on LeT, but a number of its leaders, including Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, remain free.

Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was also rocked by a series of bombings in 2008 which killed at least 45 people.

In 2002, the state was torn by religious riots which killed more than 1,000 people, most of them from the minority Muslim community.

India has fought three wars with its nuclear-armed rival, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2016, with the headline 'Security troops rush to Gujarat on terror fears'. Print Edition | Subscribe