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Why Goa is on high alert

Vicky Nanjappa in Mumbai | December 08, 2008 20:53 IST

Immediately after the Mumbai attack, Goa [Images], a hot tourist destination especially for foreigners, was put on high alert.

While it is convention to put certain cities and states on high alert after a terror strike, there is now a question about whether there is a specific threat to Goa.

The Goa government and the Intelligence Bureau said there is no specific threat to Goa at the moment.

The entire issue of a threat to Goa was sparked off by a Cabinet note in which the government had sought for additional security. Chief Secretary J P Singh told there is no specific information about a threat to Goa.

"There are a lot of foreign tourists in Goa and we must ensure that these tourists and citizens of Goa are not targeted. We have managed to rope in additional security for Goa and the police force has beefed up security," he said.

Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik had quoted intelligence inputs and said terror could visit Goa through the sea route. Intelligence Bureau officials say they have not picked up any specific input at the moment regarding an attack on Goa. "We have, however, alerted the government to be vigilant," an IB source said.

Goa on LeT radar: Although at present there is no specific threat to Goa, the fact remains that this tourist hub was one of the places marked by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

IB sources say the LeT had planned on attacking important destinations in India and the specific brief to their cadres was to target as many foreign nationals as possible in order to attract international attention.

While for the Mumbai attack, the brief was to target both Israelis and Americans, the idea behind the Goa attack was to kill British nationals.

This was confirmed by Riazuddin Nasir, an LeT operative arrested in Karnataka.

Nasir, a resident of Hyderabad, was arrested by the Karnataka police earlier this year. In his confession to the police, Nasir said he was trained by the LeT in Muzzafarabad and his brief was to carry out a series of attacks in Goa.

He said that he had reconnoitered Goa several times and identified the beaches where he planned to carry out a series of attacks.

However the LeT had not planned a Fidayeen attack on Goa but chose to carry out a series of blasts targeting foreigners, Nasir said.

Nasir had stolen several vans for the operation and had decided to drive them down with the help of his accomplices to Goa. He said that he had planned to park the vans near the beaches in Goa and plant RDX in them.

The idea was to carry out a series of explosions, he also said. Nasir had planned this attack in the month of August, but was picked up four months before he could carry out the attack.

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