Coastal belt in India’s Ernakulam on high alert for Sri Lankans

The long coastline in the district has been on high alert for the past 72 hours following intelligence input that some Sri Lankan nationals will try to start their voyage to Pakistan from one of the harbours in Ernakulam and Alappuzha.

The alert comes days after the police and Intelligence Bureau (IB) carried out a security audit at harbours in the district and identified several vulnerabilities, according to the New Indian Express.

It was on Saturday that a specific intelligence alert was issued by the IB that around 13 Sri Lankan nationals will arrive in Ernakulam and Alappuzha coastal belt for travelling to Pakistan. Since then, the police force has been on high alert to prevent any movement of foreign nationals from the coastal belt.

“It has enhanced intelligence gathering through the fishermen community about the presence of any Sri Lankan nationals. We are also monitoring isolated places and buildings along the coast. Besides, fishermen who venture into the sea for fishing are being monitored,

The  police and Intelligence Bureau (IB) We are also collecting information about fishermen returning in fishing boats. The patrolling activities along the coast have been enhanced,” Fort Kochi coastal police Circle Inspector Sangeeth Job said.

It will not be an easy task to identify Sri Lankan nationals as a number of fishing boat workers are from Tamil Nadu. Similarly, several boats from Tamil Nadu dock at harbours in the district.  “We are collecting information from shops in coastal areas about people who had not been seen at these places before.

We have also asked owners of lodges to share information about people occupying rooms daily. Fishermen who are part of our intelligence network are on alert about the presence of suspicious vessels in the sea,” he said.

Ernakulam Rural police chief K Karthick said all required precautions have been taken.  “The entire security system is on high alert. Checking has been intensified. We have also briefed the fishermen community about the matter,” he said.  Munambam harbour had witnessed several instances of Sri Lankan nationals hiring fishing vessels to escape to other countries.

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