R-Day celebrations peaceful in fortified Delhi

January 26th, 2009 - 2:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 26 (IANS) Republic Day celebrations in the heavily fortified capital went off peacefully Monday, much to the relief of the security and intelligence agencies that have been on high alert for the past one month and stepped up their vigil Sunday after coming across two suspected terrorists in a satellite town.“The celebrations in the capital were free from any sort of incidents. It was due to the effective coordination among all the agencies and heavy security arrangements,” said Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat.

The national capital had been put on high alert due to the perceived terror threat looming large in the wake of the audacious 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and the blasts in Delhi last year. The vigil was stepped up Sunday after two suspected terrorists were shot dead in Noida, adjoining Delhi.

A total of 198 companies of security forces, including the paramilitary forces, were deployed to check movement of people and vehicles on the city roads. Last year there were 101 companies.

Since Sunday night, vehicles entering Delhi were thoroughly checked by armed police. Barricades were also put up at strategic locations of the city to check and frisk people.

Police said they were keeping an eye on people staying in hotels, guest houses and visiting cyber cafes. Special attention was paid to areas in east Delhi and northeast Delhi. Many people were taken into preventive custody ahead of Republic Day.

A massive ground-to-air security apparatus, comprising fighter jets and anti-aircraft guns, was on stand by to thwart any strike from air and to check any alien aircraft hovering in Delhi’s airspace. Three fighter jets were also stationed at the Air Force Station at Hindon near Delhi for the Republic Day parade.

Elite Commandos of the National Security Guard (NSG) were also on high alert to handle any eventualities.

The airspace above Delhi was declared a ‘no fly zone’ between 11.15 a.m. and 12.15 p.m. as the Republic Day parade in Rajpath ended with a fly-past by the Indian Air Force.

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