Delhi, Mumbai on high alert amid rising security concerns

Source: Livemint

  • Some other major cities have also been put on high alert as tension escalates between India, Pakistan
  • Maharashtra govt curtailed state’s budget session to ease burden on security agencies in view of the current situation

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI/BENGALURU: Several prominent cities in India, including the national capital Delhi and financial capital Mumbai, are on high alert on the basis of inputs by security and intelligence agencies, against the backdrop of increasing tension between India and Pakistan, officials of the Union home ministry said on Thursday.

This is one notch lower than a red alert, when a city or a particular location within the city is directly under threat, they said.

Police in Delhi and Mumbai have put the Metros on high alert, according to Union home ministry officials.

In Mumbai, the Maharashtra government curtailed the state’s budget session on Thursday, instead of the scheduled 2 March so that more than 6,000 police personnel engaged in guarding the assembly could be redeployed across the city. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told the assembly that the session was being curtailed to ease the burden on security agencies in view of the current security situation. Fadnavis had held a meeting with opposition leaders on Wednesday to discuss the issue. On Thursday, the Maharashtra chief of the Nationalist Congress Party and former state home minister Jayant Patil supported the government’s decision but sought a rethink on the need to deploy 6,000 police personnel across the city.

Mumbai Metro One Pvt. Ltd, which operates the Versova-Ghatkopar-Andheri corridor, meanwhile tweeted on Thursday morning that it has imposed a red alert across all its 12 stations following “inputs received from security agencies”.

In Delhi, home ministry officials said under the present circumstances, even private entities such as the Delhi or Mumbai Metro have the authority to put their services on alert. “Of course, the entities can issue alerts according to the circumstances. They can issue a red alert or yellow alert according to what the situation is or can control the services where the trains are plying. There is no regulation against that,” said a senior home ministry official, requesting anonymity.

The Mumbai Police is also keeping a watch on vehicular traffic across the city, especially the western and eastern express highways that connect the island city with its suburbs, for any “unusual activity” and have already heightened security at major installations, said a Mumbai Police spokesperson.

In Karnataka, the security agencies are on high alert since the day the Indian Air Force struck terror bases inside Pakistan.

“We have been asked to be on heightened sense of readiness since the day of the first air strikes on Pakistan,” said a police official from Karwar, a coastal town in Uttara Kannada district, requesting anonymity.

The police is coordinating with the Coast Guard and Navy to ensure every vessel is checked properly. There is a naval shipyard in Karwar, while the Navy is also implementing in phases its so-called Project Seabird, which will eventually become one of its largest bases.

The west coast, which includes states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala comprises a total of 113 ports. Of the total 7,516.6km of coastline across the peninsula, the western region accounts for 3,341km, according to official data.

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