S. Vijay Kumar

Vigil has been stepped up at all vital installations

CHENNAI: A high security alert has been sounded in the State with possible terrorist attacks aimed at major temples, including the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple in Madurai, and vital installations such as airports, railway stations and other areas of public gathering.

The entire police force has been put on alert. “Security will be very tight in the coming weeks. We have issued alert messages to all districts based on specific intelligence inputs,” Director General of Police (Law and Order), K.P. Jain told The Hindu on Saturday.

The Natarajar Temple in Chidambaram, Ranganatha Swamy temple in Srirangam and Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mypapore, Chennai, were also facing threat.

“We have stepped up vigil at all vital installations across the State. Surveillance has been intensified on banned organisations, suspected extremist elements and border districts,” Mr. Jain said.

Police sources confirmed that plainclothesmen had been deployed at vantage points such as places of worship, bus stands, shopping malls and commercial streets.

The alert messages were issued by the Intelligence Bureau and the Ministry of Home Affairs, a police officer said. The police were closely coordinating with their counterparts in neighbouring States. Security has been enhanced at the Pamban bridge across the sea at Rameswaram, nuclear installations, Tamil Nadu Electricity Board establishments and along the coastline.

“It is not clear from which outfit the threat is perceived. Random checks are being conducted on lodges and houses located in remote areas,” the officer said.

In Chennai, Additional Director General of Police and Commissioner R. Sekar said the bomb detection and disposal squad and striking force teams had been positioned in vulnerable areas. All incoming vehicles were being checked and night patrolling had been stepped up.

“We have made an appeal to the public to inform the police control room about any suspicious or abandoned object lying in any part of the city,” Mr. Sekar said.

At the Secretariat, Chief Secretary L.K. Tripathy chaired a high-level meeting to review security arrangements. Instructions were given to the police to provide adequate security to the IT corridor, BPOs and other areas of public gathering. Besides keeping tabs on habitual offenders, intelligence agencies were told to keep a close watch on foreign nationals staying without valid documents.