The bomb blast in Pune is not a one-off attack, say the central and state governments, adding that the country should be prepared to ward off a series of similar attacks across other cities, given the pattern followed by the terrorist outfit — Indian Mujahideen (IM) allegedly operating under the instructions of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) — believed to be responsible for the blast at German Bakery at Koregaon Park in Pune.
State home ministry sources cite Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur followed by Nashik and Aurangabad as on top of terrorists’ hit-lists; the latter two are being targeted for their religious importance, it is learnt.
“The outfit involved (LeT/IM) is known for executing a series of attacks, be it 26/11, Mumbai railway serial blasts or the blasts in three cities in July 2008. There are chances of similar attempts in the near future,” said a home department official after a meeting with the state police department on Sunday evening at the Mantralaya.
The IM could be further employed by Pakistan-based terror groups to carry out similar acts of terrorism in other cities, was the warning by Union home ministry sources as well.
Despite the home ministry’s earlier claims on having decimated the IM, it sounded an alert in Delhi, Kanpur and Indore fearing that groups like LeT and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) might foment trouble in these cities with IM as their local face.
Alarmed by fresh reports of the LeT-JuD nexus with the IM, the Centre has also asked state governments to remain vigilant and increase surveillance at key public places.
Highly-placed ministry sources admitted to the existence of IM sleeper cells in various cities, including Pune, where the outfit was allegedly used by LeT operative David Coleman Headley. Kanpur has also also been in the news about IM presence, which was exposed by a couple of incidents of bombs — assembled by its operatives — accidentally going off.
The presence of a Metro network, which also runs underground, and preparations for the Commonwealth Games reinforced Delhi as a target.
Of late, Indore, too, has reported IM activity. A BJP national executive meeting is to be held there this week, leading the Centre to sound an alert.
Sources further pointed out that central intelligence agencies had since October 2009 thrice alerted the Maharashtra government about a possible terrorist strike in Pune. The prime targets according to them were the Osho centre and a Chabad House.
Ostensibly finding the two impregnable, the terrorists settled for a soft target in German Bakery, a senior ministry official said.
Meanwhile, the intelligence and the security agencies of the Centre and the states have started a coordinated effort to expose the IM network and their Pakistan handlers. In this connection, a combined effort was being made, particularly with the Maharashtra SIT, to nab Mohsin Chaudhary, said to be one of the founder members of the IM and the brain behind Pune blast.
While most of the important IM activists were arrested by the police during the past two to three years, Chaudhary had managed to escape.
Reference : Google News