Several threatening messages received on the WhatsApp number of Mumbai Police’s traffic control cell on Friday night evoked memories of the attack by Pakistani militants in Mumbai 14 years ago. After which the Mumbai Police came down with a final warning. After an initial investigation, it was found that the phone code number belongs to Pakistan. Closer to Mumbai, security has been beefed up across Maharashtra, including Mumbai, after the threat followed the recovery of arms and explosives from an abandoned boat off the coast of Raigarh. Surveillance has increased at sea.
Later, Mumbai Police Commissioner Vivek Phansalkar assured a press conference, “We are assuring, that we are alert. Nothing will happen. Mumbai will be safe.”
Around 12:15 on Friday night, messages written in Hindi started coming in succession on the WhatsApp of the Traffic Control Cell of the Mumbai Police. It says, ‘There is going to be an attack in Mumbai. And that will remind you of 26/11. If the police go to search based on the number, it will show a place outside India. Six people are working to detonate. The entire city of Mumbai will be destroyed. Osama bin Laden, Ajmal Kasab, and Ayman al-Zawahiri have been killed, there are many more.
Interrogation and other necessary actions
The police became active only after such a message at night. According to sources, one person has been arrested from Birar and is being interrogated. Later, the Mumbai Police Commissioner said that many possibilities are being explored. Indian phone numbers can be hacked for messages sent from Pakistan. According to the police, the number of a person from Pakistan was found from this source. The person employed as a gardener claimed that his number was hacked. The police said that they have given all the information in this regard to the Maharashtra Counter-Terrorism Department.
It could also be a mere fake threat. But they are not taking the matter lightly. The ‘Sagar Kavach’ campaign has been started with an eye on ensuring that no militants or explosives can enter through the coast. Security has been beefed up at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Mumbai’s key areas have been cordoned off with tight security. Patrols have increased across the city. The Coast Guard, Maharashtra’s counter-terrorism wing, and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) are already investigating.
Home minister’s statement
Home Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis said, “Agencies have been directed to take appropriate action.” NCP’s Ajit Pawar also said at Nagpur airport, “The state government should take this threat seriously.” Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said, “First explosive recovery in Raigarh, now this threat again! What is happening in Maharashtra?”
One of the worst terrorist attacks in the country’s history took place in Mumbai on November 26, 2008. Ten armed militants of Lashkar-e-Taiba, including Ajmal Kasab, entered from Pakistan and simultaneously attacked eight places like Leopold Cafe, Taj Hotel, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, and Oberoi Trident. 166 civilians were killed in this attack which lasted for about four days.