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Home Ministry warns of ‘lone wolf’ attacks by Islamic State operatives

High alert issued to all States ahead of Republic Day.

A high alert has been issued to security forces across the country by central intelligence agencies, warning of possible ‘lone wolf’ attacks by Islamic State (IS) operatives targeting high-risk dignitaries in the run-up to the Republic Day celebrations in January next year.

A communication issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs to all the States on November 1 stated that the overall security scenario in the country remained a cause for concern on account of the threat emanating from Pakistan and the Afghanistan-Pakistan belt.

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) continued to provide infrastructural and other financial/logistical assistance to terror groups, particularly the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad, operating in that country, the note said.

New dimension

“The reported nexus between home-grown terror outfits and Pakistan-based extremist organisations in terms of procurement of weapons, technology and training has added a new dimension to the threat scenario,” it added.

The intelligence machinery has taken cognizance of anonymous threatening letters/communications and derogatory content on social media against the Prime Minister and other high-risk dignitaries. A high level of alert would be necessary for intelligence agencies to collect inputs having a bearing on VIP security during the Republic Day functions in Delhi.

Referring to the “success” of the IS in radicalising a few Indian youths and attracting certain sections of the local population/Indian diaspora to participate in its activities or support terrorist groups operating in India, the alert warned of a desperate individual resorting to some extreme measures.

“Significantly, the IS has urged its followers to carry out ‘lone wolf’ attacks in the country of their residence,” it added.

The porous coastline of southeastern and southwestern India was an easy landing ground for terror outfits to push their men and material into the country, the note said. Inputs indicated that Sri Lanka and Maldives were used by Pakistan-based terrorist elements for anti-India activities. The recent withdrawal of special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Articles 370 and 35A and the earlier pre-emptive air strike on non-military targets inside Pakistan by Indian Air Force had considerably enhanced the threat from these outfits, according to the note.

Inputs also indicated terrorist groups’ efforts to sneak into coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala via sea route.

The communication called for deploying adequate manpower at airports, railway stations and bus stations to mount surveillance on anti-social elements and their known hideouts.

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