Indian police boosted security at Jewish institutions in Mumbai over Simhat
Torah on Thursday and Friday due to intelligence that the Indian Mujahideen
terrorist organization might attack them.
Police sources told The Hindu
newspaper that following the Nairobi, Kenya, terrorist attack, in which
Jewish-owned stores were among the targets, they conducted a security review and
determined that since an attack against the American Jewish community was
“impossible,” “al-Qaida is looking at softer targets.”
“India has a
strong Jewish population, so an alert has been sounded across the country
especially in states like Delhi, Maharashtra and Goa to strengthen the security
around Jewish establishments and synagogues,” the anonymous police source
Several thousand Jews live in Mumbai, the largest city in
Under interrogation, recently arrested Indian Mujahideen leader
Yasin Bhatkal told Indian counterterror officers that “he was asked by his
bosses to get Jewish hostages,” the source added.
arrested accused Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar have [sic] revealed that
Jewish and other locations in Mumbai were recced [reconnoitered] by their
operatives in the first week of August 2013,” according to a government report
quoted by the Economic Times.
The Magen David Synagogue, Magen Hassidim
Synagogue, Shaare Rason synagogue and Shaar Harahamim synagogue were all
locations of interest for Indian Mujahideen.
Quick response teams were
deployed outside of “every Jewish establishment” in the city, The Hindu
For the past two months, “we have stationed two constables
outside every synagogue,” Krishna Prakash, a police official, told the Indian
“Senior inspectors and deputy commissioners of police have
visited each location and beefed up security.”
Police have requested that
synagogues use “door frame metal detectors and ensure that each person entering
is frisked,” Prakash said.
Indian police called on Jewish establishments
to hire security guards, install security cameras and issue ID cards to be used
to gain admittance to the businesses, according to NDTV. They also have been
instructed to not allow vehicles to park around their buildings.
Indian Security Group, a volunteer security organization run by members of the
Jewish community, has increased its activities, Mumbai resident Malka Moses told
The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. “There is a high alert here.”
concerns for security are important, Jonathan Solomon, chairman of the Indian
Jewish Federation, told the Indian Express that maintaining good relations with
the larger non-Jewish must also be a priority.
According to Solomon, the
Jewish community sees a “foreign threat, but there is no distrust with the
“It is a danger that bothers us and we are taking routine
precautions, but there is a limit to what an ordinary person and institution can
do in a city like Mumbai. So we have put up CCTV cameras and taken other such
steps. However, we do not want to be counter-productive through these security
measures based on an advisory and drive away the people. We feel secure in the
round-the-clock support we have been receiving from the police for so many years
now,” he said.
In 2012, an Israeli diplomat was targeted in an attempted
bombing and six Jews, including Chabad emissary Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his
wife, Rivka, were killed when Nariman House, the hassidic movement’s local
headquarters, was invaded by Islamic terrorists during the 2008 Mumbai
JTA contributed to this report.