The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) continues to be a source of worry for security agencies as intelligence inputs suggest that the premier nuclear facility and its staff housing area are on the hit-list of Pakistan-based terror groups.
Extra-vigilant security officials are having a tough time in manning the "Anu Shakti Nagar", the residential complex housing nearly 10,000 people adjacent to the facility, battling BARC authorities for regulating campus' entry and exit, officials privy to the arrangements said.
Recently, two labourers from Kashmir were detained by security personnel manning the complex and released only after their background check was done.
"BARC has been constant sources of worry for us. Lashker-e-Taiba's American terrorist David Headley had carried out a survey of the location which has made us extra-vigilant," said one of the security officials.
Intelligence inputs from various agencies indicate that BARC continues to be one of the favourite targets of LeT whereas other terror groups including the Jaish-e-Mohammed could also make attempts to attack it.
Security agencies have asked for proper manning of entry and exit points and if possible restrictions on entry of other locals residing in adjacent areas, who frequent the Anu Shakti Nagar for shopping, the sources said.
While additional personnel were being sent to the BARC, the navy and the coast gaurd have also been roped in for maintaining a tight vigil along the coast lines.
The security around the nuclear installation has been tightened and efforts were on to ensure proper cover to the mangroves located close to the BARC complex, the sources said.
The rear side of the BARC, located on a hill top, can be seen from the Arabian Sea.
The confessional statements made by Headley and another Lashker-e-Taiba terrorist Sarfaraz Nawaz, who was deported from Muscat last year, have also shown that BARC is one of the prime targets for the terror groups.
Nawaz had stated in his statement before the police that LeT was planning to target top ten scientists in the country, some of them from BARC.
As a result the security around these scientists, who have not been identified and are working in crucial areas of nuclear, defence and space research, has already been tightened.
While Nawaz (33) was deported and brought back by security agencies from Muscat, his accomplice T Nazir had been arrested along the Indo-Bangladesh border last year. Both of them had allegedly played a key role in Bangalore blasts.
According to the confessional statement of Headley, he had been directed by one Major Iqbal, believed to be a part of Pakistani army, to explore BARC especially its staff colony as a target.
In April 2008, Headley took a taxi and went to BARC and videographed the entire area including the Anu Shakti Nagar and later had food in a nearby restaurant. "I conducted four boat rides at different places for the reconnaissance of the landing sites," Headley had said.
The American-born terrorist also said that the same video about BARC was handed over to Major Iqbal and not to his handler "Sajjad".