According to an Intel report, an alert has been issued in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore after six LeT terrorists have been suspected to have entered Tamil Nadu through Sri Lanka. Is Tamil Nadu turning out to be the next potential target of terrorists, especially in the aftermath of the sinister Easter blasts in the neighbouring country?
A high security alert has been sounded in Tamil Nadu following intelligence reports that six IS terrorists from Sri Lanka, including a Pakistan national, have seeped into Coimbatore from the neighbouring island nation.
All the six, according to intelligence reports are LeT terrorists, and the Pakistani person among them is reportedly named Illyas Anwar.
Intelligence reports also had it that the six had moved in under the guise of Hindus sporting tilak and holy ash.
Security has been tightened in Coimbatore, which is not exactly new to Islamic terror. It has been witness to a series of blasts in February 1998 in which 58 people were killed.
A top-level official meeting was held this morning (August 23) in Coimbatore under the helm of police commissioner Sumit Sharan, and the city was placed under a security blanket with extra vigil at airport, railway stations, bus stands and important religious places.
Intelligence agencies have been warning that Tamil Nadu may be a potential target of terrorists, especially in the aftermath of the sinister Easter blasts in Sri Lanka that killed around 250 people. There were reports of an India-based active IS module that had worked in tandem with the Lanka-based terror outfit Towheed Jamaat. It was said the terror mastermind Zahran Hashim spent around two or three months in India (probably in December-January-February) and he had been in touch with certain people in India before he went back to Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, the NIA had carried out searches in Kerala in connection with the Lanka blast, and it arrested a man, who is a follower of Zahran Hashim, on the charge of conspiring to carry out a similar suicide attack in Kerala. There was a strong suggestion that an IS module was in operation in India, especially with Tamil Nadu-Kerala as its base.
Last month, NIA made some headway in the matter. First, the NIA managed to deport 14 persons from the UAE who were raising funds there for an IS module here in India.
The arrested 14 people were from Tamil Nadu's Melapalayam, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram and Chennai.
After that breakthrough, the NIA, in a follow up action, conducted searches in Ramanathapuram district in places belonging to five of the arrested men, who had received training from the Ansarullah Movement in Yemen.
Sources further said that the IS module was typically operating sleeper cells that were ready to strike terror when they got the go-ahead.
Highly placed intelligence sources today said that the state of Tamil Nadu, sharing its sea border with Sri Lanka that is also seeing an upsurge in Islamic terror strikes, seems to be a major attraction for terrorists.
"Some local elements are also hand in glove with the terror groups, and this has made the job of intelligence sleuths even more difficult," said a source.
"The political reality in the country and Tamil Nadu has made the situation a bit tricky. It is not for us to comment on political matters. But it is casting a shadow on Tamil Nadu and the terrorists may be getting some local support," said the intelligence official. In that sense, Tamil Nadu looks vulnerable and things do seem a bit tricky.
With LeT terrorists reportedly on the prowl in Coimbatore, the situation seems to have gotten a bit more complex now.
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Last Updated Aug 26, 2019, 12:12 AM IST