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India to deploy more coastal police in West Bengal

NEW DELHI: Indian government in a high level meeting on Monday decided to deploy extra six coastal police pickets in West Bengal (WB) to keep a check on infiltration through the sea route. According to sources, the Indain Union Home Ministry took the decision, only few days after when Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) sounded an alert to the West Bengal government of a probable infiltration of terrorists through the Bangladesh border.

In a letter to the state government the IB had called for additional deployment of the security forces. It also alerted the state Home Secretary and the Inspector General of the Border Security Force (BSF). The IB also warned of the presence of Jamaat-ul-Mujahedeen in the northern part of the state, which, it is feared had sneaked in through the Bangladesh border. There are also reports of terrorists being holed up in West Bengal’s Kooch-Bihar area.

Indian government believed that the 10 terrorists who stormed Mumbai on November 26 had come from Karachi via the sea route. In an effort to tighten security at the sea-front, Indian central government on Monday held a high-level meeting on coastal security and took stock of the measures to plug loopholes in this route.

The meeting attended by national security adviser (NSA) M K Narayanan, Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, BSF Director General M L Kumawat and representatives of Navy and Coast Guards held a detailed discussion on the situation along the coastline and the steps being taken to beef up security in the wake of the Mumbai terror strikes.

“The Home Ministry reviewed the coordination among central security agencies, state police, the Navy and the Coast Guard. The meeting had a threadbare discussion about the security requirements, including fast-moving vessels and sophisticated naval equipment to protect Indian waters,” a Home Ministry official revealed.

The government has been giving top priority for coastal security considering the vulnerability of the 7,516 km-long Indian coastline and is trying to plug all loopholes following repeated intelligence inputs of security threats from this front.

Indian government is also working for speedy implementation of the ongoing coastal security scheme, underway since 2005-06. The Union Home Ministry had launched the coastal security scheme over two years ago and had sanctioned 73 police stations in nine coastal states and four Union Territories.-SANA

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Noreen Gill

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