Wednesday, December 28, 2005

IT city on country's terror map

IT city on country's terror map
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Information Technology has not only transformed Bangalore into a big international city, it also seems to have pushed it onto the terror map of the country. A plot by terrorists to strike at Bangalore's IT companies was unravelled by the Special Cell of Delhi Police on Monday after they arrested three persons. This is only the latest in a chain of such alerts.

According to the city police, there has been no specific information from central intelligence agencies about the latest case. Incidentally, this was the same thing the police had said when the Special Cell of the Delhi police busted a gang of Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists earlier this year, and revealed a plot to target software establishments in Bangalore.

Then, according to the Delhi police, the terrorists had apparently visited Bangalore and studied the layout of a software firm, just as they had managed to obtain passes to the passing-out parade of the Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun, which was also on their hit-list.

Bangalore has gained significance because any trouble created would certainly make headlines everywhere. Bangalore is a hub for IT companies like Infosys and Wipro. Many vital defence establishments are located in Bangalore including ISRO, the DRDO labs, Air Force Establishments (the IAF Training Command is headquartered here), HAL, BEL and BHEL.

In the present case involving a Bangladeshi national who was arrested along with two others, the city police said that they were yet to get details from their Delhi counterparts. “We have to find out which industry they targeted and other details,'' a senior officer said.

“Since July, we have been extremely alert,'' he said. The Independence Day celebrations this year were, in fact, marked by apprehension because there were intelligence alerts that Bangalore was among the six cities in the country where terrorists might strike.

More recent was the alert from Delhi in November, warning that the suspects in the serial bomb blasts there on October 29 might have fled to Bangalore.

The city police maintained a vigil and conducted searches, though the suspects were nabbed from Jammu later.

The city is definitely heading in an unpleasant direction, police officers admit it, but is Bangalore really prepared for an emergency?


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