J&K Police Had Warned Of Holes In Coastal Security

29 November 2008
The Times of India

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir police had alerted the central government about holes in Indian coastal security following disclosures by two Pakistani terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) arrested from the mountainous Rajouri district in March last year. A police official said on condition of anonymity that the two Pakistani militants, arrested by Rajouri and Poonch police in a joint operation in Manjakote, had alleged that sea routes were used for infiltration for the first time 'by paying bribes to coast guards'. Abdul Majeed of Nawabshah and Mohammad Jameel of Mansera had reportedly revealed to the interrogators that they had infiltrated into Indian territory in groups of eight from Karachi through the sea route. They claimed they had paid 'huge amounts to coastguards to reach Mumbai after a private boat they were sailing in was intercepted by the guards in Indian waters'. The official said: 'The militants told us that they were sent from Karachi as a group of eight militants in a private boat by LeT's 'launching commander'. It took them three days to reach Mumbai. Their ship was intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard when it went out of order for sometime. However, the terrorist managed to cross the security net by paying a huge bribe.' That was the first reported case of infiltration through the sea route over 20 months ago and senior police officials had 'sounded more than adequate alarm about the potential of this spiralling into a bigger challenge'. He added that information about gaps in the coastal security was passed to all relevant people in the central government 'as it was the first case of infiltration through sea route after fencing of the Line of Control (LoC) had made it almost impregnable. It was a serious development and required a meaningful follow-up'. On Wednesday night, a group of armed terrorists went on the rampage in Mumbai, targeting 10 prominent places. At least 152 people were killed and 327 injured in the terror drama that ended Saturday after a 59-hour standoff between security forces and the militants. Police said the terrorist had reached India's financial capital through the sea route. The Jammu and Kashmir police official regretted that the 'input and alert by us in this regard was not paid due heed'. The official recalled that in 1999 the state police had smashed a LeT cell in Samba town, 45 km south of here. They had recovered 39 pistols besides 'serious information of the outfit planning to bring entire country under its domain of strikes'. 'It is indeed unfortunate that information provided by us was not followed properly,' he said.