Goa, next target of al-Qaeda?
Panaji, Dec 7: A cabinet note circulated to the ministers in Panaji on Saturday, Dec 6 warns that international terror network al-Qaeda may target some of the tourist hotspots in Goa. The cabinet note signed by Chief Secretary J P Singh reads, "Today, Goa faces serious threat from terrorists and there were specific inputs that al-Qaeda would target certain installations in Goa. Goa has a coastline of 105 km, major sea ports and beaches."
This is the first time that Goa government has admitted that the state is on al-Qaeda radar, something it had been publicly denied so far. "Goa is declared as the permanent venue for IFFI. It has already added to the busy tourist calendar of the state, thereby putting massive stain on the police machinery. To handle such situations, an increase of reserve force is the need of the hour to ensure effective patrolling," the note adds.
Tarique Batloo, a Kashmiri youth was arrested with explosives at South Goa's Margao railway station in 2006. Probe revealed Batloo's link with the militant outfit Tehrik-Ul-Mujahid. However, Batloo was acquitted in 2008 by a Goa court as police failed to establish offence against him. The state cabinet, which had met on Dec 2, discussed the need to have an additional India Reserve Battalion (IRB), an armed police force.