Alert in south after threat to Madurai hospital

MADURAI NOV. 13. A red alert has been sounded in the southern districts following a threat, reportedly from Al-Mujahideen, to blow up the Aravind Eye Hospital and other establishments in Madurai on November 13 and 14.

In an e-mail sent to the hospital authorities yesterday, one Arshad Hussain, claiming to be a member of Al-Mujahideen, warned that a decision had been taken "to strike the Madurai industrial belt on Wednesday, November 13.''

``We challenge the police and the Indian Government to stop this,'' he said. The accused, whose e-mail identity is arshad_hussain2003@yahoo.com, said the fundamentalist organisation was aware that the hospital was restoring the vision for the blind, which would be stopped at any cost.

Investigations revealed that the e-mail was sent from Mumbai and a special team was formed to locate the exact source. The city police are coordinating with their counterparts in Mumbai to identify the system from which the e-mail was sent.

Meanwhile, heavy bandobust has been posted at the hospital and the Lions Aravind Institute for Community Ophthalmology. Anti-sabotage checks and strict access control were maintained.

The baggage of visitors was frisked by a bomb disposal squad.

``We are leaving no stone unturned and the threat is being viewed with all seriousness. However, additional information has been sought from the hospital management, including the list of employees terminated from service recently,'' a top police official told The Hindu.

According to the DCP (Law and Order), Abhin Dinesh Modak, the accused hacked into the domain of the National Centre for Software Technology in Mumbai to send the e-mail. "He appears to be a computer literate and we are confident of locating the system used for sending the mail soon,'' he said.

Security at the Meenakshi Temple here has also been tightened.

The police have also enhanced vigil on vital establishments, including hospitals, Electricity Board installations, bridges and places of worship.

The arrangements would continue till the weekend, police sources said.

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