‘Operation Rakshak’, a meticulously planned mock drill, was a challenge between the ‘Red Force’ (commandos posing as terrorists) and the ‘Blue Force’ (police/defence personnel).

It had all the ingredients of a terror situation. The 24-hour drill organised in coastal Tamil Nadu to test the efficiency of security forces against infiltration of ‘terrorists’ saw some real-time action involving various law enforcing agencies.

‘Operation Rakshak’, a meticulously planned mock drill, was a challenge between the ‘Red Force’ (commandos posing as terrorists) and the ‘Blue Force’ (police/defence personnel). The mission of the ‘Red Force’ was to enter the land from sea and reach their targets that included harbours, railway stations, malls and government offices.

Though most of the ‘terrorists’ were intercepted either on the sea or land by the police or Coast Guard, the exercise also exposed vulnerable areas. For instance, armed ‘terrorists’ managed to enter the Chennai central railway station early on Monday despite heightened security arrangements.

Another team with automatic weapons and explosives gained access into two crowded shopping malls in the city. Those who sneaked into the land from the shores and tried to ‘attack’ vital installations were nabbed by the Chennai Police. A security blanket was thrown over coastal districts of Tamil Nadu and Chennai City since Sunday as part of the special operation. In Chennai, even journalists were not allowed into the Commissionerate where a joint interrogation cell was established to question the apprehended ‘terrorists’. This led to protest by presspersons, which was later sorted out following the intervention of the Police Commissioner T. Rajendran.

Explaining the highlights of ‘Operation Rakshak’, Inspector General of Police (Coastal Security Group) Rajesh Das said the first information on the movement of ‘terrorists’ came from a fishermen, who saw them at sea around 3 a.m. on Sunday. “Based on his information, the Coast Guard and Central Industrial Security Force arrested the suspects who were on a mission to attack a harbour. In another incident, the conductor of a bus alerted police about two suspicious persons who had boarded the bus at a fishing hamlet. This input helped in arresting two other suspects.”

The entire police force in the coastal districts was mobilised to guard vital installations on the land and shoreline. “The objective of ‘Operation Rakshak’ was achieved more than expected. If exercises of this nature are held periodically, security forces will be fully geared to prevent any kind of infiltration,” Mr. Rajesh Das said.