HYDERABAD, India, AP – Police put hundreds of officers on the streets of this southern Indian city Tuesday following the arrest of two suspected Islamic militants and warned residents to be prepared for attacks.
The heightened security coincided with a visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was in Hyderabad, the capital of India’s Andhra Pradesh state, to inaugurate a conference of scientists from around the country later Tuesday.
Southern India has been in a state of alert since last week, when gunmen opened fire outside a prestigious science institute, killing a retired professor and wounding four people in the city of Bangalore, the capital of neighboring Karnataka state and India’s technology hub.
Late Monday, police in Hyderabad arrested two men they said were part of a larger network and seized a large quantity of explosives. They said the men were planning attacks on software and technology companies in Hyderabad and warned there were more attackers in the city.
“This is not the end,” said Police Commissioner Rajiv Trivedi, adding the attackers were planning to use sophisticated bombs that can be triggered by cell phones.
The two arrested men “were part of a terror network which is planning to carry out series of bombings and suicide attacks,” Trivedi said.
Police set up barricades, patrolled streets and searched cars at checkpoints across the city on Tuesday.
It was not clear whether the arrests in Hyderabad were linked to last week’s attack in Bangalore.
Commissioner Trivedi said that police had “reasons to believe that the arrested militants had links with radical Islamic groups in Pakistan and Bangladesh.” He did not elaborate.
India has long accused Pakistan of aiding separatist Muslim rebel groups in Jammu-Kashmir state where more than a dozen groups are fighting for the Himalayan region’s independence or its merger with Pakistan.
Andhra Pradesh state also has a history of communist insurgency. The northern part of the state is a stronghold of Maoist rebels who have been fighting for more than three decades, demanding land and jobs for agricultural workers and the poor.
The rebellion has claimed at least 7,000 lives.