A day after USA, UK and Australia issued an alert warning of possible terror attacks in busy markets in the capital, the Delhi Police claimed that they had intensified security arrangements across the city. HT did a spot check on Thursday evening and found more policemen on the ground. But CCTVs were still not functioning in most places and policemen were just idling.
A frequent haunt of foreigners, Janpath had more policemen but no CCTV cameras. The police personnel at the entry and exit gates didn’t have hand-held metal detectors to scan bags. “The door frame metal detectors are working. There are no CCTV cameras. We manually check peoples’ bags. Four policemen in plainclothes are also monitoring the market,” said a policeman at the entry gate. A security guard at one entry gate checked the bags of a select few, but this correspondent’s bag wasn’t checked.
The market, which has various entry and exit points, lacks both CCTV cameras and door frame metal detectors. “It is difficult to man every entry and exit of an open market like CP. We brief security guards at each shop daily. We have asked them to manually check the bags of customers who enter the shop,” said a policeman. But the security guards failed to check the customers’ bags. “The CCTV cameras will be installed after the restoration is over,” the policeman added.
The crowded Karol Bagh Market has door frame metal detectors which very few people use and the cops don’t enforce it either. Bags are rarely checked. The CCTV cameras in some areas of the market were removed some time back. However, there were more police personnel in uniform and in mufti.
“There are about 20 policemen in plainclothes in addition to the 11 constables who are manning each police post,” said a policeman in the area.
Joint Commissioner of Police (northern range) Karnal Singh admitted that the market did not have CCTVs. He said the police was installing new cameras. “They will be in place before the Commonwealth Games. At present, we have deployed a number of policemen in plain clothes to secure the area,” he said
GK-I M-Block Market
Everything was the same here. No change in number of security personnel, no CCTVs. The only difference was the number of people visiting the market had decreased after the alert.
Secretary GK Market Association, Arun Gupta, said, “There has been no increase in security. Only some of the CCTV cameras here work. Nothing is being done even after the presence of a probable threat. GK-I M-Block Market saw a blast during the serial blasts, but this has not changed the cops’ mindset.”
Security at Sarojini Nagar—a 2005 terror target—has been tightened here after the high alert. The number of police personnel deployed through out the market has increased.
“The police presence has increased. All the 25 CCTV cameras spread in the market are working. Bomb Disposal Squad is also patrolling the area periodically. We have instructed our employees too to keep an eye on any sort of suspicious item,” said Ashok Randhawa, president, Sarojini Nagar Mini Market Association.