Tight security in Kashmir ahead of R-DayJanuary 23rd, 2009 - 5:43 pm ICT by IANS
Srinagar, Jan 23 (IANS) Security in Jammu and Kashmir summer capital Srinagar has been further tightened ahead of the country’s Republic Day Monday.All vehicles entering the city are being thoroughly inspected and additional check points have been established at scores of places, police said.
“These are routine security arrangements which are made every year ahead of the Republic Day celebrations and there is nothing extraordinary about such arrangements,” a senior police officer told IANS.
The focus of the security authorities is the Bakshi Stadium in uptown Srinagar where the main Republic Day parade will be held. All roads leading to the stadium are being secured by deploying the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the local police.
Separatist Kashmiri leaders, including both the groups of the Hurriyat conference headed respectively by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, have called for a protest shutdown on Jan 26 and asked the people not to participate in the official functions.
“All the arrangements for holding the Republic Day parade have been finalized. Cultural items by schoolchildren, besides flag hoistings and the official parade here, are going to be the highlights of this year’s celebrations across the Valley”, said a senior government official.
Reports from the district headquarters of Anantnag, Badgam, Bandipora, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Kulgam, Kupwara, Pulwama and Shopian also said security forces had been put on high alert to thwart any attempts by separatist guerrillas to disrupt the official functions on Jan 26.
Because of frequent security checks in the city, many residents have complained of inconvenience in the cold weather.
“Every time you are stopped, you have to open the doors of the vehicle, get down and wait in the cold till the checking process is over”, said bank employee Bashir Ahmad.
“It is an unavoidable drill that has to be followed for the safety and security of the people. We are trying to carry out our duties with a smile and with least inconvenience to the public,” said a middle-rung police officer in charge of a check point in the old city.