A phone call to the Bengaluru police control room on Friday evening has put the security apparatus in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu into a tizzy. The man, a lorry driver named Swamy Sundar Murthy, who made the call warning of possible terror attacks in eight Indian states including the five southern states, was arrested by the Bengaluru police on Saturday morning.
The man arrested by the Avalahalli police was brought to the Vidhan Soudha station where he is being questioned by the Central Crime Branch. Though many police officers believe the call could have been a hoax, it can be said conclusively only after questioning ends.
Since the blasts in Sri Lanka, security has been increased in many places in the country, including in the south. Numerous reports have said that police have put people with links to the Thowheeth Jamath in Sri Lanka on a watch list.
On Friday night, DGP of Karnataka, Neelmani N Raju sent an alert to the top police officers of all the states about the warning. This alert, in turn, prompted the government of Tamil Nadu to send out a message to all the district police chiefs and Collectors to be on high alert.
The alert, issued at around 8.30pm on Friday stated that the Bengaluru city police control room received a call from a lorry driver on Friday evening. “He claims to have an information to the effect that major cities in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Pondicherry, Goa and Maharashtra will be hit by terror attacks,” read the message. It also stated that the informer said that the attacks will take place in trains.
“He also claimed that there are 19 terrorists present at Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu,” added the message from the Principal Secretary.
The alert was issued after the DGP of Karnataka Neelmani N Raju wrote to the Director General of Police (DGP) Tamil Nadu and six other states and the DGP of Railway Protection Force (RPF), New Delhi alerting them of possible terror attacks in their states.
A senior police officer in Tamil Nadu confirmed to TNM that a message has been received in relation to possible terror attacks on trains in Tamil Nadu. He said that the RPF has been alerted and that security has been increased in railway stations following the alert. “Our special branch has also been activated, we suspect it is a hoax call, because if it was serious we would have gotten supplementary information by now. We will verify this information once again tomorrow,” he added.
Bengaluru police too have issued instructions to ensure that more security is put in place in the city. Bengaluru City Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar held a meeting on Thursday with people in charge of religious institutions, shopping malls, and star hotels instructing them to increase security measures.