The city is a sitting duck for another terror attack going by the results of a mock drill that was carried out from Monday morning, which concluded last evening.
As part of the Sagar Kavach operation, a two-day marine operation in the high seas to protect the state’s coastline, officials penetrated the city’s defence machinery and reached the iconic Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL) uninterrupted and dropped off a ‘bomb’ on it. However, before one gets alarmed, the ‘bomb’ was a sticker that was displayed on one of the pillars of the sea link without the knowledge of the police and other security personnel.
For the purpose of the operation, the personnel were divided into two teams the officials posing as terrorists were part of the Blue team whereas those trying to track and nab them were part of the Red team and they were supposed to test the intelligence, alertness and preparedness of all participating in the drill. The drill which began on Monday at 6 am ended on Tuesday at 6 pm during which different weak and unmanned spots were identified. An official on condition of anonymity told MiD DAY that at least 20 such spots had been recorded.
An official told MiD DAY that in the wee hours of Tuesday, the ‘intruders’ had entered the city and reached BWSL without being stopped. They then put up the sticker on one of the pillars and escaped, leaving the authorities in the dark. The official added that initially the police were confused about the issue of jurisdiction. It was only later that it was learnt that it came under the jurisdiction of the Worli police. However, the Worli police claimed they could not patrol the water area, as that was the responsibility of the coastal police.
A senior level IPS officer on condition of anonymity said, “It is very careless and the mock drills are taken very lightly. If the police are unable to stop intruders in the 36-hour stipulated time period what are they going to do around the year when such stipulations aren’t placed? We are sitting ducks.”
The incident also raised another concern. Many were worried that immediately after the drill, all officials were called for a meeting leaving the seas unmanned and unchecked. Another senior official said, “The local police fail to keep tabs as they lack the necessary manpower. A special force should be made to ensure the safety. Additionally, it is not necessary that every terrorist would enter by sea, as they did during 26/11 attacks.”
Speaking about the drill, Additional Commissioner of Police Krishna Prakash (south region) said, “ We were successfully able to trace and intercept ‘terrorists’ at eight different spots during the drill. A full report from the Navy, Coast Guard and other forces will be generated later. I can not divulge any more information.”
What is Sagar Kavach?
A maritime security exercise conducted off the Mumbai coast to check whether the Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) are in place after 26/11. Navy and Coast Guard are part of the annual operations. All patrol vessels of the Mumbai police and other districts participate in the drills. Over 7,000 Navy, Coast Guard and policemen participate in the drill.