The State Intelligence had communicated a specific input on the possibility of an attack on the US Consulate in Chennai. However, the attack on the consulate caught the police unawares as it was planned and well-organised with protesters deviating from the original route to reach the ‘target’ and having come armed with stones, investigators said on Friday.
Preliminary investigation revealed that a sizeable number of protesters came from the Tambaram side to join the main group of Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) agitators. After burning a couple of US flags, they ran towards the Consulate raising slogans and stoned the building. They were joined by a few more youth from Thousands Lights area.
Director-General of Police K. Ramanujam who reviewed the progress of investigation said security was being enhanced at the Consulate. “We are deploying riot police as a precautionary measure. Security will be intensified all around the Consulate,” he said. According to sources in the intelligence agencies, the State police had, during periodic security review meetings, emphasised the need to shift the US Consulate from its present premises. “It is located at a busy traffic junction and abuts the Anna Flyover that runs in close proximity. There was an attempt to stage a blast at the US consulate in 1998 when an explosive was placed under the flyover. The incident took place days before the serial blasts in Coimbatore,” the official said.
In a late-night reaction, a spokesperson of the US Consulate said “all staff are safe and accounted for.”
Parrying questions on the adequacy of security personnel and extent of damage caused to the Consulate in the attack, he said such details could not be assessed immediately.