Anything could go wrong this Republic Day: From terror to mounds of garbage cited as threats

Alarm bells are ringing all over the Capital as a review done by intelligence and security agencies have thrown up a number of threats across the Capital. While the key area of concern is terrorism, with terrorists likely to target the Prime Minister and create mayhem during the proposed Jat agitation during the Republic Day celebrations, other more innocuous areas are also cases of concern. Ironically, garbage is one of them.

Intelligence officers say that the current strike by civic workers will attract birds to the overflowing mounds of garbage, posing a threat to aircraft. On the terror front, officers point to the possible infiltration of jihadi elements through hot air balloons. Officers claim that micro-light aircraft, UAVs and hot air balloons could infiltrate the country through land and sea routes to target VVIPs, most notably the PM.

It is these innocuous areas that intelligence officers will have a nightmare in combating, especially as they do not have “specific security” inputs. Due to the lack of specific inputs, officers are even more worried. In a security review meeting recently held in Lutyens’ Delhi, the country’s premium security and intelligence agencies discussed the probable terror threats in the national Capital.

Though they agreed that there was no “specific threat” as of now, a senior intelligence bureau officer pointed to the fact that the “cadres of Islamic State (IS) module arrested in Kerala last year had disclosed their intentions to carry out a Nice-like attack in India.” In 2016, dozens of people had been killed when a lorry ploughed into a large crowd watching a large fireworks display in Nice to mark the Bastille Day holiday. Intelligence officers are worried on many levels.

Pointing to the “recent attacks on a police station at Gurdaspur and Air Force Station at Pathankot in Punjab, besides attacks at Defense establishments in Jammu and Kashmir,” an intelligence officer said there were significant pointers to the undiminished resolve of Pakistan-based terror outfits particularly Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed to create disturbances in the country. A RAW officer informed the security meeting that there were inputs that some Pakistan-based group was trying to use Afghan identities to enter India and that some of them could already have fraudulently acquired Afghan passports to enter India. However, it isn’t just Pakistan-based terrorists that officers are worried out.

Intelligence officers are also worried about possible growing radicalisation of “gullible Muslim youth” by militant groups and the role of certain Muslim groups who are creating tensions ahead of the events. Recently, the imam of the All India Majlis-e-Sura (AIMeS) of Kolkata issued a fatwa and declared a reward, “for the person who would shave the beard and head of the Prime Minister.” Interestingly, top officers from Delhi and Haryana police have expressed their concern about the presence of Rohingiyas as they are a potential catchment pool for Islamist outfits.

An intelligence officer said the Daesh continue to motivate such elements to join its ranks and suggested a database of Rohingiyas is the need of the hour. Coming to the states, an intelligence officer based in Chandigarh spoke about the potential terror threat in the state. State police busted a Sikh terrorist module in 2015 and 2016 and their disclosers have revealed that the Pakistan ISI is trying to revive Sikh terrorism in the state.

Intelligence officers said there could be a possibility that some unknown small module might be coming up in the state–a worry for the Capital just a head of Republic Day. In Uttar Pradesh, intelligence officers too expressed their concern. Despite such threats, Delhi Police officers said all necessary security arrangements had been put in place.

Similarly, the Central Industrial sk© Security SAVER SALE Force also stated that the security apparatus is in place. “All necessary security arrangements are being put in place for countering threats from inimical elements,” the officer said.

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