Manali's Jewish houses under special security net
Manali: Himachal Pradesh Police has stepped up security for Chabad House of old Manali, a favourite haunt of Israeli tourists, against the backdrop of several Jewish festivals and Israeli security agencies warning its nationals visiting this resort of a "very serious" terror threat.
Manali, nestled between valleys of Himachal, has been a favourite of Israeli tourists coming to the country with about 40,000 of them flocking the hill station every year.
The Chabad House located on Club House road caters as centre point of the visitors, which has prompted authorities to increase the security cover of the religious centre.
The fears of a possible terror strike were also fuelled by the audacious 26/11 terror strike in which Nariman House, a Chabad centre, was targeted by terrorists killing all five residents including the Rabbi and his wife.
"We have sensitised our functionaries all over the state, and the drive to provide increased security to the Israelis visiting the state had begun after the Nariman incident. We had also received an advisory from the Central government a month ago regarding the same," Superintendent of Police KK Indoria told reporters.
It is the older sections of Manali that is preferred by the foreign backpackers while domestic tourists flock the newly-built sections of town.
Owing to the high numbers of Israelis visiting the region, two Chabad houses, Jewish socio-religious institutions, have also come up in the area and are high on the priority list of the local police.
"Most Israeli tourists visit these houses while in Manali, special attention is being given to them with hourly patrols," said Indoria.
"The police face problem when it comes to providing security to the Israeli tourists because they prefer to be anonymous and keep a distance from the police. Therefore we do not have a proper record of all of them who are in the state currently. Though we had recently done a check on those who have settled down in the villages permanently," he said.
The officer said recently, there was a huge celebration by the community in Kasauli as part of the Jewish new year and police had adopted strict security measures to make sure that no untoward incident happens.
The Israeli advisory has warned its nationals that the Lashker-e-Toiba might carry out a number of attacks across India, particularly against Western or Israeli tourists. Asked about it, Ezekiel Issac Malekar, the Rabbi in the Judah Hyam Synagogue of Delhi, said "We are celebrating the New Year and it is unfortunate that the announcement came because our community feels safe in the country."
The Israelis are at present celebrating their New Year -- 'Rosh Hashanah'.