Trees around Red Fort on cops’ scanner ahead of Modi’s Independence Day address

  • Karn Pratap Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 09, 2016 23:18 IST
Security tightened at Red Fort ahead of Independence Day in New Delhi. (Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times)

The Delhi Police, which conducted a tree census at Red Fort as part of security preparations before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address on August 15, said there are 3,140 trees – 2,400 inside and 740 on its periphery - in and around the monument.

Police said they had marked the trees so that armed security personnel could be positioned to cover the whole area. “Our men will be responsible for covering at least 20-30 trees,” said special commissioner SBK Singh.

The previous two Independence days, Modi addressed the crowds from the ramparts of Red Fort without a bullet-proof glass protection.

In the backdrop of intelligence agencies sending inputs about terror threats ahead of Independence Day, trees have been trimmed and lights placed on the ground. “There will be adequate number of security personnel at the venue hours before the celebrations start. I won’t reveal security details,” Singh said.

The Delhi police said this was the first time a tree census was conducted. Over the past month, cops brainstormed on how to cover the whole area.

Sources said the threat to Modi was ‘very high’ this time. Only those vehicles cleared by security personnel and with ‘anti-sabotage (AS) check’ stickers on their cars will be allowed parking near Red Fort.

The stickers indicate the vehicle has been checked.

Madhur Verma, DCP (north), said security personnel at the 11 authorised lots will paste stickers on vehicles.

“Once pasted, the stickers cannot be removed and re-used on any other vehicle. Vehicles without ‘AS Check’ stickers will not be allowed to park,” said Verma.

Around 200 commandos from the National Security Guards, SWAT teams and Border Security Force will be posted within 500 metres of the ramparts. The commandos will be equipped with automatic Beretta assault rifles and communication gadgets, which help them stay connected with other commandos and the control room.

“The commandos are trained snipers who can fire from any position or situation,” an officer said.

Police will use panoramic photography to capture a panorama of the buildings around Red Fort. Nearly 605 balconies and 104 facing Red Fort will be under watch.

Armed police officers will be on guard at each of these balconies and windows.

More than 500 CCTV cameras have been installed at the venue and on roads to be taken by VVIPs and the PM’s motorcade from his 7 RCR residence to Red Fort. The camera surveillance began on August.

The Delhi Police’s quick reaction teams, bomb and dog squad and medical teams will be deployed at the venue.

A no-fly zone will be in place around the Fort. There will be security at installations such as Parliament complex, airport, railway stations and metro stations.

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