Mumbai and its adjoining cities have been put on the highest alert after two school-going children claimed they saw at least six people at Kumbharwada locality of Uran in Raigad district wearing pathani suits and carrying firearms on Thursday morning.
In a bid to avoid any untoward incident, the local authority shut down local schools in and around Uran. They will remain shut on Friday as well. The Uran Sessions Court was also evacuated by the security forces. All the under construction buildings are being searched by the security forces involved in the combing operation. Mumbai police's DCP for Zone 1 (South Mumbai) said there is no such move in the Colaba area.
Barely eight kilometers from the location where the students said they spotted the suspects is the naval base INS Abhimanyu, where the elite Marine Commandoes used to be trained. Parents of both the children, students of a private school, immediately informed the Indian Navy after which an intensive combing and search operation was jointly launched by Marine Commandos, Navi Mumbai Police, Maharashtra ATS, NSG Commandoes, and Force-1 sleuths.
“A report that some suspicious persons have been sighted early morning of 22 September 2016 in Uran, Maharashtra was received in the morning. As per the report, 5-6 persons were sighted in pathani suits and appeared to be carrying weapons and backpacks," said Defence PRO Commander Rahul Sinha.
“Indian Navy's Western Naval Command, reacted expeditiously to the situation by first initiating an alert and informing all coastal security stakeholders. Searches and other actions as per procedure have been initiated. The situation is being closely monitored in liaison with the Police. No person has been located or apprehended till now," Sinha said.
The navy has pressed various Sea King helicopters into service to locate the suspects, but so far no one has been sighted. Maharashtra DGP Satish Mathur also confirmed that multiple agencies are probing it. “As per witnesses the suspects were carrying arms and were wearing Pathani dress and covering their faces. Police with support of other security agencies have launched operations to trace out these suspects. Till now the version of witnesses could not be confirmed either way. Efforts are on." said Navi Mumbai police commissioner Hemant Nagrale.
Both the children were called in by Navi Mumbai police to inquire into the matter. “Both the students were called in by police to verify the location where they saw those suspects," said Joint CP of Navi Mumbai Madhukar Pandey. The Additional Chief Secretary KP Bakshi told The Free Press Journal that the National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval is constantly monitoring the situation in Uran.
“The teams of National Security Guard, Force One, Crime Branch sleuths have been jointly involved in combing operation in Uran to locate the suspected people cited by school children," Bakshi said. He added, “There is no further development and we are continuing the search. I have spoken to the Director General of Police, Satish Mathur, and to the Navi Mumbai police commissioner. Both have confirmed that so far nothing has been found but the search operation is on."
“The NSG Commandos, Crime Branch officials as well as Force One personnel are stationed at Navi Mumbai. They all are helping the combing operation," said Bakshi, who has asked Maharashtra DGP Mathur to submit a detailed report on Uran terror alert by Friday.