Police step up patrolling on Goa beaches

December 23rd, 2008 - 11:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Dec 23 (IANS) Police patrolling of Goa’s pretty beaches has been stepped up ahead of the busy festive season that kicks off from Christmas eve, but the police have denied reports that the army may be deployed.Superintendent of Police (Criminal Investigation Department) Atmaram Deshpande Tuesday refuted reports that the army has been asked to deploy troops in Goa as part of the security exercise of the state government in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.

Rumours of military personnel being deployed started doing the rounds in Goa after army and air force officials were roped in for Tuesday’s security review meeting which Chief Minister Digambar Kamat called at his residence.

“The meeting was essentially called to ensure that there is proper liaisoning between all the arms of government,” Deshpande said. “The army is not being called in for participation in the security deployment. They will be called in case there is a need for it.”

Till Monday, the state government was coordinating with Indian Navy officials on matters of coastal security. The inclusion of the army and air force in the security scheme of things fuelled speculation that the army may be deployed.

Goa attracts nearly 300,000 foreign tourists each year. The 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai where armed terrorists specifically targeted foreigners has spurred the state security agencies to beef up security in all the coastal resorts and beaches dotting the shore.

“Patrolling has been increased on the beaches and we have also deployed police personnel in bunkers at strategic locations,” Deshpande said.

The security review meeting was held on the eve of Minister of State for Home Sri Prakash Jaiswal’s visit to Goa.

Deshpande also clarified that the ban enforced by the government on parties on beaches and other open spaces from Dec 23 to Jan 5 was a 24-hour ban and insisted that no exceptions would be made, considering the gravity of the situation.

The ban virtually means that Asia’s biggest music do, the Sunburn 2008 festival, which was to host DJs from around the world would be called off. “The police have not granted the Sunburn organisers permission,” Deshpande said. The music fest was to be held at Candolim beach Dec 27-29.

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