Mumbai/ New Delhi/Bengaluru: A state of high alert has been declared by security and intelligence agencies in several prominent cities across the country in the wake of the heightened diplomatic and security face-off between India and Pakistan. The city police departments in Delhi and Mumbai have put the metros on high alert — different from a red alert, when that city or a location in the city is directly under threat, according to the Union home ministry officials.
In Mumbai, the Maharashtra government curtailed the budget session of the state legislature on Thursday instead of the scheduled conclusion on March 2 in view of the emerging security scenario so that the 6,000-plus police force engaged to guard the legislature could be re-deployed across the city. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the legislative assembly before the speaker adjourned the session that it was being curtailed in view of the security situation and to ease the burden on the security agencies.
On Wednesday, Fadnavis held a meeting with opposition leaders to discuss curtailing the session. On Thursday, Nationalist Congress Party Maharashtra chief and former home minister Jayant Patil supported curtailing the session but asked for a rethink on the need to deploy 6,000 policemen.
The Mumbai Metro One, which operates the Versova-Ghatkopar-Andheri corridor, on Thursday morning issued a red alert across 12 stations. “Basis the inputs received from security agencies, Mumbai Metro One has imposed red alert on all 12 stations with immediate effect," tweeted Mumbai Metro One at 9.23 am on February 28.
Union home ministry officials told Mint that under the present circumstances, even private entities such as the Delhi or Mumbai Metro had the authority to put their services on alert. “Of course, the entities can issue alerts as per circumstances. They can issue a red alert or yellow alert as per what the situation is or can control the services where the trains are plying. There is no regulation against that," said a senior home ministry official requesting anonymity.
The Mumbai police are also keeping a watch on vehicular traffic across the city, especially the Western and Eastern Express highways that connect the island city with its suburbs, for any “unusual activity" and have raised the state of security at major installations, a Mumbai police spokesperson told Mint.
In Karnataka, the security agencies are on high alert since the day the Indian Air Force struck deep inside Pakistan. “We have been asked to be on heightened sense of readiness since the day of the first air strikes on Pakistan," a police official from Karwar, a coastal town in Uttara Kannada district, said requesting anonymity.
He added that the police were working closely with the coast guard and Navy to ensure every vessel is checked properly.
There is a naval shipyard in Karwar and Project Seabird, which is being built in phases, will be one of the larger such bases in the country, housing India's largest warship and aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.
The west coast of India includes states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala that have a combined total of 113 ports. Of the total 7,516.6 km of coastline across the peninsula, the western region accounts for 3,341 km, according to official data.