Jammu and Kashmir on alert over Lashkar strike threat



Jammu: A red alert was sounded across Jammu and Kashmir on Monday following reports of a major terrorist strike being planned in the run-up to the Republic Day Jan 26, said sources in intelligence agencies here.

The state government and the union home ministry have started exchanging notes on security issues on an hourly-basis.

Terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba was preparing to strike, using car bombs and improvised explosive devices, particularly in the summer capital city of Srinagar, sources said.

"Accordingly, a red alert has been sounded," a source told a news agency.

Police and paramilitary deployment has been strengthened near stadia and other places where the Republic Day function would be held Wednesday, the sources said.

Lashkar is known for conducting "fidayeen" or suicide attacks, but it also has the expertise in car bomb explosions. It works in tandem with the Hizbul Mujahadeen and has many sympathisers in the militancy-affected areas, especially in the Valley.

Sources said Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was in constant touch with union Home Minister P Chidambaram over security issues ahead of the 62nd Republic Day.

This year's Republic Day functions in the state are attracting greater national and international attention because of the scheduled "Rashtriya Ekta Yatra" (march) of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The party plans to hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar Jan 26.

The BJP's youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) launched the march from Kolkata Jan 12. The march is scheduled to enter the state on Tuesday.

The state government has deployed police and paramilitary contingents on the border with Punjab and taken steps to foil the BJP's flag hoisting plan.

IANS