Terror alert in Calcutta

Read more below

By Staff Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 16.11.08

Calcutta, Nov. 15: Police officers fanned out across roads, stations and popular haunts as the city was put on high alert today — “higher” than during the pujas — after a warning from Delhi that militants were planning to strike.

The alert came on a day the Assam government shared an intelligence feed with Bengal about a possible blast in a passenger train from Guwahati to New Delhi. Any train on this route has to pass through north Bengal.

The warning from Delhi said “six to 10” Indian Mujahideen rebels were set to enter Calcutta from Bangladesh one by one and then regroup before carrying out attacks anytime between November 15 and 30. “We are on a higher alert than we were during the pujas,” said special commissioner of police S.N. Sarkar.

“Senior officers are out on the roads and all vital installations have been brought under the security net. Entry and exit points are being manned,” the acting police chief added.

During the pujas, nearly 80 per cent of the city’s police force of around 10,000 was on the streets.

Sources said officers of all 48 police stations in Calcutta had been asked to step up vigil while patrolling was intensified at Howrah, Sealdah and other key railway stations.

“These Indian Mujahideen activists, actually representatives of the (Bangladesh-based) Harkat-ul Jihadi Islami (Huji), are set to enter with a definite plan,” said an officer.

Today’s alert followed a similar input two days before from the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau, which said associates of Huji activist Mohammed Abdul Shaheed alias Bilal, wanted in connection with last year’s Samjhauta Express blasts, could enter the city from Bangladesh.

The city’s police brass went into a huddle. After the meeting, officers were asked to step out and intensify vigil at malls and parking lots.

In north Bengal, state and railway police launched search operations across the region. “The state has received an alert from the Assam government about a possible explosion in a passenger train to New Delhi from Guwahati via north Bengal,” IG (law and order) Raj Kanojia said.

“Our men, in association with the GRP, are checking trains coming from Assam to New Jalpaiguri,” Darjeeling police chief Rahul Srivastava said.

The police are also watching bus terminuses and shopping complexes in Siliguri.