India beefs up security at Taj Mahal after Daesh threat
AGRA: India has boosted security at the Taj Mahal after a pro-Daesh group reportedly warned of attacks in the country and threatened the 17th century monument to love, police said Friday.
Images published in local media showed a fighter in combat fatigues and black headgear at the Taj Mahal, India’s biggest tourist attraction, and the words “new target” as the backdrop.
The US-based Site Intelligence Group, which tracks militant activity, said the pro-Daesh Ahwaal Ummat Media Center had originally published the graphic on Telegram on Tuesday.
“There have been no specific intelligence inputs or any official alerts, but going by media reports we have stepped up security at the Taj,” senior police superintendent Preetender Singh told AFP on Friday.
“Security drills are being carried out on a six-hourly basis instead of the usual daily drill.”
Members of the bomb disposal squad and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team have been deployed with additional personnel patrolling the Yamuna river which flows next to the Taj, he said.
India’s leaders say the Daesh does not have influence in the country of over 1.2 billion people, which has a large Muslim population.
There have been some reports of Indians going to fight for the group in Iraq and Syria, but the numbers are low relative to the size of the population.
Last week, police said a Daesh sympathiser accused in a train explosion that injured 10 people had been killed in a stand-off as they tried to arrest him.
Singh said the nature of any threat remained unclear but police did not want to leave anything to chance.
“Based on the inputs so far, we have beefed up the security and are fully prepared to handle any eventuality,” he said.
“The Taj is in safe hands.”