The central government has asked states to beef up security, especially at educational institutions, following the terror attack at an army-run school in Pakistan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said .
“I just want to say that all state governments have been issued an advisory by the home ministry,” he told reporters outside parliament on being asked whether steps have been taken by the government to secure educational institutions.
Following the advisory, security in schools was beefed up in many states in India.
In the national capital, Delhi Police stationed policemen outside most of the schools after the advisory alerted about a possible attack on the lines of the Peshawar terror attack in which 141 people, mostly school children, were killed.
The advisory, issued late Tuesday night, said that in view of the terror attack on the Pakistani school, and a terror incident in Sydney and “heightened possibility of a terrorist attack” in India in the light of the upcoming visit of US President Barack Obama, all states and other authorities concerned have been told to remain alert.
“The law enforcement agencies should take all measures towards target hardening of vulnerable places and installations. This includes public places with high footfall, public transport, including railways, and schools in particular,” the advisory said.
It also alerts against the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Islamic State (IS).
“The terror threat can emanate from members of SIMI who had escaped from Khandawa, agents of IM based in Pakistan, and LeT. In addition, lone wolf attacks by radicalised IS sympathisers are also a possibility,” it added.
“Such attacks can only be prevented if central and state agencies mobilise all resources and assets at their disposal and focus on collecting actionable intelligence,” the advisory added.
“The incidents and the developments mentioned above warrant immediate attention of intelligence and law enforcement agencies across India. It is felt that till the end of January 2015, the security forces and intelligence agencies need to remain on a very high alert mode to prevent incidents witnessed elsewhere in the neighbourhood as well as in other parts of the world,” the advisory said.
“It is requested that all state governments and central agencies may take all necessary measures to prevent possible terror attacks and the steps mentioned above are only illustrative and not exhaustive.
“Further steps required may be taken as per local situation and it again reiterated that the heightened sense of security alertness may be continued at least till the end of January 2015,” it added.
The advisory was referring to Obama’s visit Jan 25-26 during the Republic Day celebrations.
In the light of the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, the advisory said: “There appears to be an immediate requirement to scale up security around schools and other educational institution which are considered more valuable due to a variety of factors.”
It said “mock drills” should be carried out in vulnerable locations.