Mumbai: The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has warned that terrorists could strike during the Ganpati festival to avenge the arrests of Indian Mujahideen man Yasin Bhatkal and Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Abdul Karim Tunda.
About a week ago, the bureau asked the Mumbai police to strengthen security during the 10-day festival that begins on Monday. “We have beefed up security across the city following the IB input. We will be extra cautious with Ganpati mandals where crowds gather in large numbers,” a senior officer said.
In two operations, first Tunda and then Bhatkal and his accomplice Asadullah Akhtar alias Tabrez were arrested by security agencies from the Indo-Nepal border last month. Both Bhatkal and Asadullah are topnotch terrorists wanted by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in connection with several terror attacks, including the 13/7 Mumbai blasts.
The ATS on Saturday released fresh posters of Tehseen Akhtar Wasim Sheikh alias Monu and Wakas alias Ahmed, both accomplices of Bhatkal and wanted in the 13/7 blasts, and announced a reward of Rs10 lakh each for providing information on the two.
There will be a dedicated helpline (022-22633333) that will function 24X7 for the 10 festival days. There are more than 6,000 sarvajanik mandals in the city. “We identified 52 sensitive areas during last Ganpati. Extra forces have been deployed at these places,” Sadanand Date, JCP (law&order), said.
DNA/ Somendra Sharma