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Law enforcement authorities in Karnataka will step up vigil in the days leading to Republic Day celebrations on 26 January amid the scare of a live bomb found in Mangalore International Airport on Monday, senior police officials said.

“This is a general alert before 26 January and we are making searches everywhere," a senior police official from the Karnataka Home Department said on Tuesday. “After the Mangaluru incident, it is slightly more serious and general alertness has increased," he added.

The official also said communications from the home ministry at the Centre were routine in the run up to the Republic Day. “Every year we get alerts but after Mangaluru incident, we are on high alert," the official said.

Security agencies have increased vigil across the country ahead of Republic Day.

People travelling to the Bengaluru airport also said that there was heightened security.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on Monday found a bag containing an improvised explosive device (IED) at Mangaluru airport, about 360 kms from Bengaluru.

Officials said it was a low intensity IED and the main charge was missing, adding that it was probably used for reconnaissance or to create panic. The IED was defused by the bomb disposal squads.

The Mangaluru police have since released CCTV grabs of a potential suspect in the case.

“We have already started investigations, questioned many people and searched several places," P.S.Harsha, Mangaluru city police commissioner said on Tuesday.

He said that the driver of the auto, used to ferry the possible suspect, is being questioned. Harsha said that the police were trying to determine if there was any connection to the threat call that the Mangaluru airport manager received.

“We are gathering information from other airports as well," Harsha said, adding that the investigating team had made ‘good progress’ in the case.

Tensions have been high in the communally sensitive coastal district of Mangaluru, especially after the violent clashes between police and those protesting the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) on 19 December.

The People’s Tribunal, a civil society initiative tasked with conducting public hearings on Tuesday came down heavily on the police. It said that the prohibitory orders in the city on 19 December was unwarranted and it was not communicated to the residents properly. It added that even the cancellations of earlier approved protest marches was not communicated.

The three member tribunal said that innocent bystanders were caught in the clash and also said that police personnel had used “communal slurs and used deplorable language" to provoke protesters.

Two people died in police firing and were later named as troublemakers in the subsequent charges filed by the government.

Meanwhile, miscreants in Hassan district, about 180 kms from Bengaluru, sent fake letters to at least two Mosque’s asking them to support CAA and NRC. The letter had the signatures of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators G.Somashekara Reddy and Anand Singh.

Senior police officials from the district said it was a fake letter sent out to create tensions in the prevailing sensitive environment.

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