A massive search is currently underway for the wreckage of a suspicious Pakistani boat that blew itself up and the bodies of its four occupants in the Arabian Sea after being intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has also stepped up patrolling and aerial surveillance along the Gujarat maritime border in view of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (January 7-9) and Vibrant Gujarat events (January 11-13), which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several foreign dignitaries.
The wreckage and the bodies would help investigators reach some conclusion about the intention of the crew on board. The incident has brought back the painful memories of 26/11 2008 when Mumbai was attacked by terrorists and held the city hostage for three days during which 166 innocent people were killed.
So were the occupants of the boat planning a yet another 26/ 11 type attack is the question on everyone’s mind right now. Only a detailed investigation will solve this mystery of the intercepted Pakistani boat which certainly was more than just a fishing trawler on the high seas.
The Coast Guard had confirmed earlier today that the crew of the boat intercepted near Porbandar coast, Gujarat were terrorists. The National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) recorded the radio communication between the two boats according to which both the boats were in contact with Pakistan’s maritime agency and army, an Aaj Tak report said. The coast guard is still in search of the second boat.
Defense expert Maj Gen Gagandeep Bakshi told Tehelka: “The Indian Coast Guards need to be complimented for their timely interception.” According to him, the security forces have been “demonised for the last ten years.”
However, there is another version of the entire incident being reported by a national daily. According to this report, the boat that was set alight off the coast of Porbandar had no link to terrorism. The boat was carrying small-time smugglers of liquor and diesel, ferrying bootleg cargo and operating out of the fishing port of Keti Bandar, near Karachi. The smugglers were travelling from the port of Gwadar to other fishing boats which were to have carried it into Karachi’s Keti Bandar harbour, said a report by The Indian Express.
But this theory has found few takers. “Would a normal fishing boat have destroyed itself when challenged? Would normal fishermen blow themselves up like this? Our bleeding hearts are trying to distinguish between smugglers and terrorists,” Maj Gen Gagandeep Bakshi points out. “It was precisely such smugglers who offloaded explosives for the 1993 attacks on our trains that killed 200 Indians and wounded 700,” he added.
Another two suspicious Pakistani boats have been located near Porbandar.