Islands along Karnataka coast could be used for anti-national activities: Sapal

The Coast Guards have expressed the need for better vigil on the activities on islands and landing points along the 320-km coastline of the State.

Addressing a workshop on national security on Tuesday, Deputy Inspector-General (Operations), Coast Guards, Rajendra Singh Sapal said activities at some of the big islands have remained unregulated. Recently, Coast Guards found a few foreign nationals on the Nethrani Island without valid passports.

Mr. Sapal said the big islands could be used for anti-national activities. He expressed the need for the State to set up police check-posts on the lines of Andaman Nicobar. “Islands across the Karnataka coastline need to be safeguarded,” he said. He expressed concern over the absence of vigil at the 66 landing points along the Karnataka coastline, including Mangalore, Malpe, Kumta, Bhatkal, and Karwar. “There is hardly any security here. There is minimal monitoring of the activities at these landing points,” he said. The Coast Guards have proposed check-posts that would help keep a close vigil at the landing points, he added. Police have to keep a vigil on the many unmanned airstrips in the State, Mr. Sapal said. The coastline was strategically important because of New Mangalore Port Trust, the Indian Navy’s Sea Bird, the Kaiga Nuclear Plant, and the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. plant dotting the stretch. Added to this, is the rise in the number of visitors to pilgrimage centres in Udupi and Murudeshwar.

Mr. Sapal said the Coast Guards were teaming well with police and other stakeholders in manning activities along the coastline. There has been good response for the initiatives such as Sagar Kavach that has helped rope in local fishermen in manning the coastline. The Coast Guards were getting additional surface units and bigger vessel for Mangalore. A training centre for coastal security will shortly come up in Udupi, he said.

Inaugurating the two-day workshop, Inspector-General of Police (Western Range) Pratap Reddy said the areas coming under the Western Range were the hub of activities that had national focus. Police have to keep their eyes and ears open and act against persons posing a threat to national security. The workshop was among the several initiatives taken up in the range to make police understand the gravity of the situation better, he said. It was organised jointly by the Karnataka Police’s Directorate of Training and the Institute of Contemporary Studies.

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