Security beefed up in Srinagar

August 13th, 2012 - 2:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 13 (IANS) With a recent spurt in separatist attacks in Srinagar, authorities Monday stepped up vigil ahead of the country’s Independence Day.

Vehicles entering the Jammu and Kashmir capital are stopped, and their boots and documents are thoroughly checked by local cops wearing bullet proof vests.

All the high-rise buildings around the Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar, which is the venue of the main parade in the Kashmir Valley, have been taken over by the security forces where sharpshooters would be deployed to ensure that no rocket propelled grenade (RPG) attacks can be carried out towards the venue by the guerrillas.

Policemen in plain clothes have also been fanned out around markets, traffic crossings and other crowded places to keep an eye on anti-social elements, police sources said.

In the past, guerrillas have fired RPGs at the parade venue to disrupt the official functions inside the venue.

The Bakshi Stadium has been taken over by the security forces three days ahead of the parade. Barricades have been erected outside important security installations in the city. Closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs) have also been activated around these places and in crowded markets here.

Security inside and around the city was mounted after a retired deputy superintendent of police was killed by the guerrillas in broad daylight when he came out of a mosque after offering the Friday prayers last week.

Local media reports have even said police officers have been advised to offer prayers at mosques in secured localities and not to move about without security escort.

Although there has been no independent verification of these reports, 100 local policemen have been killed by the separatists in the last 22 years in Jammu and Kashmir while either going to offer prayers or coming out of the mosques.

Senior police officers said there was nothing extraordinary about this year’s security arrangements in the city.

“These are routine security arrangements and we have been making them every year to ensure that various functions connected with the Independence Day pass off peacefully,” said a senior police officer here.

A full dress rehearsal was held inside the Bakshi Stadium Monday in which contingents of state police, paramilitary border security force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the National Cadet Corps and school children participated.

As the holy month of Ramadan ends later this week, Kashmiris have started shopping for the Eid festival which falls either next Sunday or Monday.

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