Security cover tightened for Delhi I-Day celebrations

August 10th, 2008 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) With less than five days to go for Independence Day celebrations, elaborate security arrangements have been made for the national capital, and the Red Fort, from where the prime minister will address the nation, has been turned into a citadel. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has circulated an alert about six Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) militants who are said to have sneaked into the city to carry out terror strikes in Chandni Chowk area during the Independence Day celebrations. This has raised the alarm levels in the security establishment.

The security agencies say no inputs can be taken lightly in view of the serial blasts in Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, which left scores of people killed and hundreds wounded this year.

“We are on a high alert and have placed an unparalleled ground-to-air security apparatus for the Independence Day celebrations. Security will be tighter and flawless in view of the terror blasts in the country,” Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told IANS Sunday.

The entire Red Fort complex, where the country’s top political leadership will be present for official celebrations, has been sanitized and several areas have been sealed off for the general public.

“We are constantly reviewing and updating security arrangements. In all likelihood there will be many levels of security when the prime minister addresses the nation from the Red Fort,” Bhagat added.

A day earlier, vehicular movement will be limited in the area and the Metro rail services will be restricted. Patrolling will be intensive in the walled city and snipers will be deployed at all vantage buildings around the 17th century fort.

This time around, Delhi Police personnel will lay special stress on anti-sabotage and anti-explosive checks, tight access control and vigil on VIP routes.

Quick reaction teams are also in place. According to police officials, over 5,000 personnel would be part of the security arrangements.

“Anti-sabotage checks are being carried out by the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force), NSG (National Security Guards) and CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) along with Delhi Police in the area around the venue,” said an official.

“All VIP routes will be checked and sealed,” added the official. “Closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs) will be put up at all vantage points.”

Security agencies have already shut down the Meena Bazar - an market for ethnic dresses - opposite the fort near theJama Masjid.

Security has also been tightened at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, the parliament complex, inter-state bus terminals, railway stations, popular markets and leading cinema houses besides the Delhi Metro network.

The security agencies have decided to deploy snipers, metal detectors, X-ray machines, sniffer dogs, radio frequency jammers and CCTVs at all major public places. Specialised units drawn from several wings of Delhi Police will be on the alert to thwart any terror attacks.

Contingency plans are in place should a terrorist strike happen. Designated safe houses for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other VIPs have been earmarked.

Besides, suitable air defence measures have also been taken to counter possible aerial threats.

“The capital will be declared a no-fly zone for the morning of Aug 15 and air defence guns would be placed at strategic locations to ward off possible aerial attacks by unmanned or microlight aircraft,” said an intelligence official.

Close coordination is being maintained with the police of neighbouring states to avert any plans by militants to sneak into the capital. Checking at all points leading to the city is being beefed up.

Delhi Police have made a specific request to their counterparts in neighbouring states - keep a close eye on all cyber cafes.

Delhi Police are set to unveil an elaborate list of do’s and don’ts for commuters and citizens for Aug 15.

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