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Obama visit: Terrorists may strike, grab hostages

November 01, 2010 14:17 IST
The Intelligence Bureau has picked up at least 18 alerts ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to India, reports Vicky Nanjappa.

A general advisory has been issued to police chiefs across the country to step up security in their respective states ahead of United States President Barack Obama's visit to India this weekend.

The Intelligence Bureau has picked up at least 18 alerts ahead of the high-profile visit.

IB sources say six of these alerts are specific in nature, pertaining to the sites Obama is scheduled to visit in Mumbai and New Delhi.

Terror groups, aware that it will be difficult to penetrate the security in the cities Obama is visiting, may carry out attacks in other parts of the country, the IB sources said, in order to cause the Indian establishment concern and embarrassment.

Home Secretary G K Pillai said recently there are intercepts specific to Jammu and Kashmir, since terror groups may strike in the state during Obama's visit.

In the last couple of weeks, the IB sources said, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's administration has been specifically told to beef up security in the state.

Terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba will look to carry out attacks in the valley during the Obama visit. Abdullah has begun reviewing security with top officials.

Security has also been stepped up at the Line of Control, which separates India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, to prevent infiltration by Pakistan-based terrorists.

According to the intercepts, terror outfits may conduct suicide strikes on a large-scale, and could even capture hostages for maximum impact.

In New Delhi, the police will post eight plus rings of security around the American president.

The inner security ring around Obama will be maintained by the US Secret Service, which protects American presidents throughout their lives.

All locations on Obama's itinerary -- Rajghat, Humayun's Tomb, the Prime Minister's Office, Rashtrapati Bhavan -- will be out of bounds for the public, the Delhi police has said.

Mumbai would have similar security procedures in place, but complicating matters are the numerous high-rise buildings in South Mumbai where Obama will be based during his 40 hours in the city.

Sharpshooters will be deployed all along the presidential route. Vehicular movement will be curbed during Obama's visit, Mumbai police sources said.

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Vicky Nanjappa