Bangalore Parade Ground sanitized for I-Day celebrations

August 13th, 2008 - 7:31 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

Bangalore, Aug 13 (IANS) Sniffer dogs, bomb and mine detectors have been deployed at the Field Marshal Manekshaw Parade Ground in the heart of Bangalore to secure the venue of Independence Day celebrations in India’s IT hub, which was hit by serial blasts in July last week. Sharp-shooters will be deployed on highrise buildings on the city’s favourite haunt - M.G. Road - which abuts the sprawling Parade Ground, M.R. Pujar, Additional Commissioner of police in charge of city’s law and order, told IANS Wednesday.

The heightened security measures are being taken as this is the first time that a chief minister from the Bharatiya Janata Party will be hoisting the tri-colour at the Parade Ground. B.S.Yeddyurappa will have that honour. He became the chief minister, the BJP’s first in south India, in May this year.

The other reason is the serial blasts of July 25. The blasts were the first such major incident in Bangalore. Eight low-intensity bombs went off in one hour in eastern and northwestern parts of the city, killing one woman and injuring seven others.

The state police have not arrested anyone in connection with the blasts though about 500 people have been questioned. “The police have some clues and are working on that,” says state Home Minister V.S. Acharya.

“Adequate forces, more than that deployed all these years, will be on duty to ensure the celebrations go off without any untoward incident,” Pujar said.

He declined to give the number of police personnel on duty on I-Day.

“The force will be adequate,” Pujar said, adding that personnel of Rapid Action Force (RAF) will also be on duty.

“Sniffer dogs, bomb detecting squads and (hand held) mine sweepers have been on duty for the last three days in and around the venue to secure it,” he said.

A disaster management team, ambulances and medical and para-medical staff will be on duty at the ground. Major hospitals in the city have also been asked to be on alert.

“Visitors to the Parade Ground will have to pass through metal detectors. They will also be subjected to physical frisking,” Pujar said.

“They will not be allowed to carry any bag and mobiles also will not be allowed in,” he said.

This year I-Day coincides with a major festival in Karnataka - Vara Mahalakshmi Vratha (Worship of Wealth Goddess Lakshmi). With Saturday and Sunday following the I-Day, a large number of people are planning a long weekend.

“We expect heavy rush from Thursday night onwards as those from other districts of Karnataka would like to visit their native places and many from neighbouring Tamil Nadu would also head home,” a spokesperson of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation said.

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