Mar 30, 2009 at 2006 hrs
Thiruvananthapuram : A high alert has been sounded across Kerala on Monday following reports of a group of suspected LTTE militants sneaking into the southern state with Police, Navy and Coastguard launching a joint intense search between Alappuzha and Kochi towns.
The alert had been sounded since intelligence agencies also corroborated the possibility of a militant group landing in Thyckal Beach near Cherthala, about 30 km South of Kochi, as claimed local fishermen, official sources said.
A large contingent of police, including armed commandos, has been deployed on the busy Cherthala-Kochi highway where all the vehicles were being searched.
The Navy has pressed two helicopters for aerial surveillance while the Coast Guard boats are searching the off-shore areas.
According to Navy sources, some “suspicious activity” had been noticed in Pallippuram area, south of Kochi.
Director General of Police Jacob Punnose said information gathered from various sources were being verified.
“Unless we come across something concrete, we cannot say whether the information is correct or not,” Punnose said.
Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said in Thrissur that all possible routes through which the suspected militant group could move had been put under high vigil.
The fishermen in Thyckal claimed that they saw a group of about 15 uniformed persons approaching the coast.
Balakrishnan said all security agencies had been geared up and a vigorous search was on.
He said it was difficult to confirm whether the group reported to have sneaked in belonged to the LTTE or some other extremist group without coming across some clear evidence.
Punnose said if some group had landed it would be difficult for them to escape easily as the area was thickly populated.
The backwaters surrounding the area was also being patrolled, he said.
The coastal vigilance committees, formed across the state in the backdrop of the Mumbai terror attack, had also been alerted so that if some found moving suspicious should be brought to the notice of police.
Meanwhile, security has been tightened throughout the state and vigil heightened at important installations like airports, railway stations and major temples, including the Sabarimala temple where the annual festival is on.
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