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Terror Threat for India's Space Scientists

NEW DELHI—Paramilitary commandos are guarding India’s top space scientist and several others in response to a threat from the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

According to the Press Trust of India, fresh intelligence from a captured militant recently deported to India from a Gulf nation indicates that Lashkar-e-Taiba is targeting G. Madhavan Nair, chair of the Indian Space Research Organisation, and six other prominent space scientists. The government on 5 April assigned Nair a round-the-clock security detail; the other scientists, in ISRO’s satellite and rocket divisions, are also receiving protection.

Lashkar-e-Taiba probably targeted the rocket scientists because of the scientists’ role as celebrities in India, not because of any particular gripe that the terrorists have against science or rockets.

ISRO’s headquarters is in Bangalore, the target of a December 2005 attack linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba in which a professor attending a conference at the Indian Institute of Science was slain by gunfire and four others were injured.