Terror Alert in Kolkata, NSG On Guard

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Kolkata: Ripples of concern ran through the security establishment as intelligence agencies have warned of a possible terror attack in Kolkata. The agencies further added that as Durga Puja fever gripped the city, terror outfits may mount an attack on the congested areas to inflict maximum casualties.

The National Security Guard (NSG) has begun preparing itself for all possible contingencies. The Black Cat commandos based at Badu near Madhyamgram have now shifted focus from high rises to random targets where terror strikes could cause severe damage. The NSG will conduct drills at these locations after dark as well.

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On Tuesday morning, a NSG detachment from Badu boarded a Mi-17V5 helicopter at the Kolkata airport and headed due north to Sodepur in North 24-Parganas. Their target was the roof of a biscuit factory in a congested area close to the busy BT Road. Locals watched as the helicopter hovered barely 30 metres from the ground as commandos rappelled down to the roof.

“This location was selected after much consideration. It is a congested locality where normal counter-terror operations are likely to be hampered. We are looking for random targets in heavily built up areas. The factory has a lot of buildings in the vicinity, including high rises. In the past drills have been conducted at city hotels and high rises that could be possible targets. Drills have also been held at Metro stations and regular trains. However, it would be wrong to assume that terrorists would only go for such targets. Their aim would be to cause as much damage in as short a time as possible. During the festive season, the best targets would be those with many people around and congested areas would give the terrorists necessary cover,” a home ministry official said.

The biscuit factory wasn’t deserted and to make things as real as possible, a team of commandos took employees ‘hostage’ while the other one was assigned to carry out the rescue. As per the NSG’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the most experienced commandos played the role of terrorists and made rescue operations as difficult as possible for the assault team. In this way, all possible strategies that may be adopted by terrorists get covered.

“This raid was also a learning experience for the Indian Air Force pilots. They practiced how to zoom on to a particular target that is not too well known as a city hotel. The commandos will carry out similar operations at the same location on Wednesday evening. The night operations will throw up new challenges to the commandos and help them work out new strategies,” the official added.

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