KOCHI: Kerala coast has been put under tight surveillance after intelligence agencies warned possible infiltration of Rohingya Muslims through the seas on fishing trawlers with the help of local rackets operating off south Indian coast.
Intelligence Bureau and other agencies overseeing national security have sounded an alert following inputs of Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar in big numbers in the last couple of days.
“We’ve analysed the situation and apprised the agencies concerned of its gravity. There’re still trawlers and boats operating from Indian coast without Automatic Identification System or similar valid tags,” said an IB officer.
Railways and Border Security Force have tightened their screening of trains and it has prompted the defence and intelligence agencies to keep a close watch on the sea routes that the travelling Rohingyas might opt for them.
Southern Railway chief security commissioner had recently sent a letter to all its divisions to keep a track on the arrival of Rohingyas in specific trains and hand over them to police.
State coastal police DIG K P Philip said: “We haven’t received any specific information about Rohingyas’ arrival on fishing trawlers. Yet we’re into combing operations randomly checking trawlers that operate off the state coast. We’ve also directed the ‘Kadalora Jagratha Samithis’ (coastal local alert groups) to keep an eye on suspicious activities.”
In the last one month alone, at least six boats with refugees on board were intercepted by enforcement agencies.
Intelligence wings suspect fishing trawlers from Indian coast are picking up them midsea from the boats which carry them from Myanmar coast. According to them, the southeast coast, from Orissa to Karnataka, is highly vulnerable as boats from Myanmar have easy access to fishing boats operating from these states.