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After terror alerts, city turns fortress

Fresh terror advisories issued by the US, Britain, Australia and Canada, coupled with the sudden onset of hazy weather towards evening kept foreign tourists away from Delhi’s bustling markets on Saturday.

delhi Updated: May 02, 2010 00:33 IST
Jatin Anand

Fresh terror advisories issued by the US, Britain, Australia and Canada, coupled with the sudden onset of hazy weather towards evening kept foreign tourists away from Delhi’s bustling markets on Saturday.

The capital turned into a fortress with Commissioner of Police, Y.S. Dadwal asking his top brass to be out on the streets. The entire police force, including Joint Commissioners of Police (Jt CPs), were on patrolling duty.

Show of strength

The Jt. CPs led a large contingent of police officers specially detailed for the purpose by the top cop himself and reviewed security arrangements between 6 and 9 pm on Saturday.

“The New Delhi range saw the maximum deployment with officers from the entire New Delhi district, as well as an extra 15 companies deployed in the district — where most foreign embassies are located,” said the officer.

Five sanctioned companies in the East Delhi district and an equivalent number in the adjoining northeast district were reportedly in place.

“I have personally visited almost every commercial centre in the range such as CP, Panchsheel Marg and Gole Market area. Special attention was paid while patrolling the Panchsheel Marg since it houses most embassies,” said Dharmendra Kumar, Joint CP (New Delhi range).

Interactions with market associations and roadside vendors were carried out in the southern range.

“We made sure that CCTVs installed at congested commercial areas such as Lajpat Nagar and Sarojini Nagar were functional and also visited various malls, including Select City Walk Mall, where a bomb hoax call had been received last week,” said Ajai Kashyap, Joint CP (southern range).

A report reveals that the total number of operational CCTVs in crowded markets in the city are as under: GK-I’s M–block market has 12, Sarojini Nagar has 25, Karol Bagh–Gaffar Market has 16, Gurudwara Road has 28 (being replaced), while Mehrauli has none.

Meanwhile, police said the congested Chandni Chowk area was also visited around six pm. “We went to check police’s anti-terror awareness and whether there is a police-public connect,” said Karnal Singh, Joint CP (northern range).

Markets turn into fortresses

GK-I’s M-block market saw heavy deployment of police personnel during early afternoon. “Officers have been patrolling the area extensively — especially near road-side eateries and food stalls,” said Saksham Sharma (32), a resident.

Karol Bagh’s Gurudwara Road was closely guarded by sharpshooters along the busy street. However, the CCTVs here have been lying defunct for the past several months.

A few kilometers away, the busy Sarojini Nagar market also had a thick security cover — but only at the single designated entrance/exit point.