Even a valid pass may not ensure you entry to this year’s Republic Day parade with over 2,000 officials from the police, paramilitary forces and the US security services keeping a close watch on visitors.
Sources from the paramilitary forces said the security personnel have been ordered to spend at least 15 seconds frisking each person to ensure a thorough examination before letting visitors enter the venue of the parade. The normal frisking time is five seconds.
The officials can deny entry to anyone if found to be suspicious, officials added.
“At any point of the three-tier security check, the officials on duty can deny entry to a person. If a person looks suspicious due to his appearance or on any other parameter, he can be stopped from entering and we are not bound to give any explanation for holding him up,” said a senior Delhi Police official.
The first batch of officials from the US secret service had already reached the Capital last week and had been conducting security checks at various locations, including five-star hotels, high-rise buildings and even hospitals around the venue of the US president’s stay and the parade.
“The spectators will have to reach the venue at least an hour before the programme is scheduled to start because the security check will require time. The entry will be closed half-an-hour before the parade and no one will be allowed inside after that,” said the official.
Over 500 police officials stationed at Rajpath on January 26 were given a two-day training on profiling participants. This is a security practice performed by American security agencies in sensitive locations such as their airports, where people are assessed by their behaviour of any possible threat.
“Participants can be randomly picked up for longer examinations also. We expect people to cooperate with the security checks this time due to the sensitivity of the event,” added the official.
Civic Centre shut down
The tallest building of the city — the headquarters of the North and South Delhi municipal corporations — was closed at 2 pm on Thursday by Delhi Police. The 28-storey Civic Centre was closed from 2 pm on Thursday and will reopen on Friday 2 pm. The police will keep the building closed on February 25 and 26.
According to the police, 71 high-rise buildings will be partly or completely shut down in the vicinity of Rajpath for Republic Day celebrations. The Red Fort, walled city and parts of Connaught Place are clearly visible from the Civic Centre.
A five-member team of US security officials also inspected the facilities at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) too ahead of US president Barack Obama’s visit.
The team of the US security experts visited the AIIMS Trauma Centre and the main AIIMS last week. The team had visited the hospital in December as well, according to AIIMS sources.
Around 90 ambulances and team of doctors will also be stationed around Rajpath during the Republic Day celebrations on Monday. Ambulances equipped with modern medical gadgets will be kept on standby for the use of VVIPS/VIPS.