Pune blast brings Carnival under scanner, red alert in Goa

pti, panaji | 14 February 2010 14:56 IST

Crowded street at Carnival parade held in Panaji on Saturday

The ongoing Carnival parades in the state will now be under severe security scanner after Pune bomb blast indicated that terrorists were eying for soft targets.

Red alert has already been sounded in the tourist state, following bomb blast in Pune, while sealing the borders.

At least nine people were killed and several injured when a bomb ripped through the landmark German Bakery in a terror strike in the upscale Koregaon Park area of Pune.

The Carnival parades have begun in the state since Saturday evening, showcasing floats on the roads, dances at night and several other functions. The Carnival bonanza would continue in Goa for the next three days.

"We have strengthened the security around Carnival festival. There are three more days left for the festivities," Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ravindra Yadav told PTI this morning.

The inaugural event organised by the state tourism department in the capital city of Panaji on Saturday evening had been a huge crowd puller with around 50,000 people basking in festivity.

The trend was expected to continue even in other towns of Margao, Mapusa and Vasco.

State police, after smooth parade in Panaji, are now wary about the parades in cities of Margao, Mapusa and Vasco, which are lined up for the next three days.

A senior police official said although everyone visiting the parade could not be forced through metal detector, plain cloth policemen would be posted in the crowd as a precautionary measure.

Police bosses, who held an emergency meeting last evening after Pune blast, have asked its district heads to tighten the security apparatus around susceptible spots.

"Entire staff is put on high alert. We have directed them to take anti-terrorist measures including anti-sabotage checking at crowded places," Yadav said.

On the field, the teams of policemen have already begun sensitizing shopkeepers, taxi drivers and others about suspicious persons or objects.

Considering profile of Pune blast, the state police have also tightened security around places which are frequented by foreigners, especially Israelis.

"Last night, Superintendent of Police (North) Bosco George personally visited Chabad house at Anjuna, where there is already round-the-clock security," the DIG said.

Places like Calangute and Anjuna beach, hotspots for Isralies, are already under scanner.

Senior police officers confirmed that special measures are in place around places, which are claimed to have been surveyed by terror suspect David Headley during his Goa visit.

While German bakery was the target of terrorists in Pune, similar business establishments in Goa have also expressed their concern over the aftermath of such blasts.

"The effect will not be noticed immediately but in the days to come," Rajendra Naroji, who runs German bakery in coastal town of Arambol, reacted.

He feared that the number of tourists will fall. "It's a big disaster for the country," he commented on Pune blast.

Stating that his bakery is a less crowded place, Naroji refused that he needed any security to his place, which is frequented by the foreigners.

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