Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry police join State in ‘Operation Hamla’
In a first, the Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry police have joined the Tamil Nadu police, Customs Department and defence forces in conducting ‘Operation Hamla’, a multi-agency exercise to check the preparedness of police in the event of an exigency.
The operation involves commandos drawn from different units who enter the land via sea or other means in the guise of terrorists. Intelligence agencies communicate an alert to the State police on the possibility of terrorist attacks on vital installations. While the ‘intruders’ would try all means to gain entry to the target destinations, the police have to intercept and interrogate them.
Conducted every six months, ‘Operation Hamla’ was launched at 6 a.m. on Thursday. Tight security arrangements were in place across Tamil Nadu, particularly the districts bordering the coastline and neighbouring States. Police intensified night patrolling and vehicle checks. Armed guards were posted at major government offices, places of worship and nuclear establishments.
“Since there is a possibility that the ‘intruders’ can enter Tamil Nadu by train or road from Andhra Pradesh or Puducherry, we included the police of those States in the operation. As of 8 p.m. on Thursday, 47 armed ‘intruders’ who tried to reach vital targets were secured in different districts,” Additional Director-General of Police (Coastal Security Group) C. Sylendra Babu told The Hindu.
A group of ‘intruders’ with explosives were intercepted by the police when they landed along the coast near Tharangambai in Nagapattinam district. On seeing the police, the ‘suspects’ tried to escape into the sea.
“The Marine Police chased and managed to apprehend them at the fifth nautical mile. Their target was the Danish Fort in Tharangambadi. ‘Intruders’ taken into custody by the police are taken to a joint interrogation cell as per the Standard Operating Procedure,” he said.
In Rameswaram, two ‘intruders’ with pipe-bombs who came to target the Ramanathaswamy Temple were detained by the Coastal Security Group. “It is possible that some might be able to reach the target. But the time taken to intercept the suspects has improved compared to the previous operation,” Dr. Babu said and added that the operation would continue till all the suspects are secured or they show up at the target destinations.
A debriefing session with all agencies involved in the operation would follow ‘Operation Hamla’ to analyse and rectify the gaps in security arrangements, police sources said.