The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has stepped up vigil along the coast to prevent any possible incursion of terror elements into the country after the serial blasts in Sri Lanka.
The force had been asked to intensify patrolling and challenge any incoming ‘unmarked’ vessel as per standard operating procedures.
The development came hours after Sri Lanka declared that a local Islamic extremist group — the National Thowheeth Jama’ath — may be behind the deadly suicide bomb attacks that killed nearly 300 people on Easter Sunday. There were concerns that those behind the attack may try to escape the island nation by sea.
News agency ANI reported that a number of ships and Dornier aircraft had been deployed to identify suspicious boats on Indian waters.
Sri Lankan president Maithripala Srisena had declared a nationwide emergency from midnight on Monday. “The government has decided to gazette the clauses related to prevention of terrorism to emergency regulation and gazette it by midnight,” his media unit said. The release said the measure would be confined to dealing with terrorism and would not impinge on the freedom of expression of people.
Suicide bombers hit three churches and three high-end hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. The casualties included dozens of foreigners and five Indians.
Not much is known about the National Thowheeth Jama’ath, which has until now been linked only with instances of vandalism involving Buddhist statues. Authorities were ascertaining the organisation’s connections to global jihadist movements.