Security alert at ISRO facility after shootout


Bangalore : Security was stepped up around the sensitive Deep Space Network (DSN) facility of India’s space agency ISRO near here following a shootout early Tuesday with two unidentified men lurking near the entrance of the campus.

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The incident occurred at Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) complex in Byalalu, 40 km from here. “There is no injury or damage,” ISRO director S. Satish told IANS.

He could not say whether it was a terror attack. “It is for the police. We have registered a case with police and they are investigating.”

“We have enhanced security and stepped up vigil in and around the DSN after the exchange of fire between two unidentified suspects and our security guards around 3.30 a.m.,” Satish added.

He said the two men were found moving in suspicious circumstances and were questioned by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel guarding the DSN.

“One of them opened fire with a small pistol. The two managed to escape in the darkness when the CISF guards returned fire,” Satish said.

The CISF guards fired eight rounds but the two escaped.

“As the shootout happened outside the 100-acre sprawling campus near the main entrance, the suspects managed to escape from the spot,” Satish said.

The space network was set up in 2007 by the state-run ISRO for receiving data and images from its first unmanned lunar exploration mission Chandrayaan-1 that was launched Oct 22, 2008 and orbited around the moon till Aug 30, 2009.

The Rs.1 billion saucer-shaped facility consists of an 18-meter and 32-meter antennae for the space agency’s lunar and inter-planetary exploratory missions.

As one of the country’s high-profile and vital installations, the space agency’s sensitive facilities in Bangalore and others cities are reported to be on the radar of terror elements.

“All our facilities and centres are protected and guarded by CISF with the latest security gadgets and weapons as per the home ministry guidelines,” Satish added.