New Delhi: A day after News18 reported about ISIS’ plans of using trucks to carry out terror attacks in India, the National Security Guard (NSG) swung into action to train its personnel to tackle such adversities.
The National Security Guard has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs seeking permission to collaborate with European nations that have witnessed such attacks in the past. "We have sought permission from the MHA to travel to Belgium, France and United Kingdom, to study their response to such attacks," a top NSG official confirmed the development to News18.
In the first such attack, on July 13, 2016, Mohammed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in France’s Nice, killing 86 people. It was the first time that the world had witnessed such brutality. Since then, terrorists have driven different kinds of vehicles into crowds to create panic and cause death.
In December 2016, a truck was deliberately driven into the Christmas market in Berlin, Germany leaving 12 people dead and 56 others injured.
On November 1 this year, a trucker ploughed into a number of people on a busy cycle path in New York, killing eight and injuring 11 others.
A similar attack took place in London in March 2016, when a car mowed down tourists on the Westminster Bridge near the UK Parliament.
In some new audio tapes, alleged Islamic State terrorist Abdul Rashid can be heard telling Popular Front of India (PFI), an Islamic fundamentalist organisation, cadres to use trucks to mow down people in India, especially during Hindu festivals like the Mahakumbh and Trishoor Puram.
The audio clip was transmitted via Telegram app by ISIS recruiter Abdul Rashid, who travelled from Kerala to Afghanistan. This has raised fears about lone wolf strikes in India.
The IS recruiter from Kasargod is accused of influencing at least 20 Keralites to travel to Afghanistan and to join the Islamic State. In the audio recording, he was heard instructing his men to drive a truck through crowds of devotees, in a similar fashion as the attacks in the West. This has set alarm bells ringing in Indian security establishment.
Sources told News18 that intelligence agencies have been warning about a lone wolf attack in India for the past several months, but the new audio tape has made the threat even more real.
The NSG has had several meetings with state police forces to discuss the Standard Operating Procedure in case of a truck attack. It has also sought to augment its counter-terror response by studying the best practises in the world, a source told News18.
NSG Director General, Sudhir Kumar Singh, however, remained tight-lipped regarding the NSG preparations. "These are sensitive, operational training matters. I would not want to comment at this stage," he told News18.
The Ministry of Home Affairs is likely to take a call on NSG's request to travel to Europe for joint training of NSG commandos with their European counterparts.