Delhi becomes a fortress as India celebrates 70th Independence Day

  • Shashank Kumar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 15, 2016 07:17 IST
A multi-layer security has also been thrown around Rajpath where a seven-day-long cultural festival ‘Bharat Parv’ is underway. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

The Independence Day celebration at the Red Fort will take place amid extraordinary security on Monday, as paragliders and drone detectors will be used for the first time to keep a close watch on the proceedings.

Over 12,000 police officers and several companies of paramilitary forces will descend in and around the monument, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort at around 7.30 in the morning to mark the 70th Independence Day.

“Adequate security arrangements have been for the Independence Day celebrations and other national celebrations in New Delhi, especially at the Rajpath and other adjoining areas,” deputy commissioner of police Jatin Narwal told ANI. “We also have also provided fool-proof security for the ongoing ‘Bharat Parv’ from August 12-18, along the Rajpath.”

“We have installed frisking booths and anti-sabotage checkpoints at various places. We are trying to ensure that people enjoy the events by keeping all the security arrangements intact,” he added.

The police will also deploy ‘spotters’— special commandos equipped with fully automatic assault rifles and high-tech gadgets.

A special team of 400 NSG snipers and commandos will form the inner layers of the security cordon, while anti-aircraft guns have been deployed to thwart any aerial intrusion by objects like drones and projectiles, senior police officials said.

Guards will stand at 605 balconies and 104 windows that open towards Red Fort. “The commandos will be spread out within a 500-metre radius around the venue. We will have policemen in plainclothes,” a police source said.

Twenty-five cops at a control room near the venue will monitor the live feed from 600 CCTV cameras. “Dog squads are being sent on the venue five times a day for thorough checks. We will have our quick reaction teams on standby,” a senior police officer said.

The city’s borders have been sealed. The area over Red Fort will be a no-fly zone during the celebrations. Crucial spots such as Parliament complex, international airport, railway stations, inter-state bus terminals and Metro stations will be under vigil.

The traffic police have restricted traffic movement. “Detailed traffic deployment will be in place to facilitate the movement of VIP vehicles, invitees and the general public. Public are requested not to touch any suspicious object. They are requested to immediately report about the presence of any suspicious movements…to the nearest policeman,” said joint commissioner of police, Garima Bhatnagar.

A multi-layer security has also been thrown around Rajpath where a seven-day-long cultural festival ‘Bharat Parv’ is underway. All the government buildings, including North Block and South Block, are being illuminated after sunset in the run up to August 15.

Panoramic photography will be used to ensure a close watch on 605 balconies and 104 windows that open towards Red Fort. Security agencies have also marked out over 3,000 trees in the area, said the officials.

Army and NSG officials will run a special communication and command centre to keep a close watch on the proceedings of the day at Red Fort.

In addition, special measures will be taken to meet “on-the-spot situations” such as the Prime Minister choosing to meet people at the venue as he previously did twice, officials said.

Security has also been beefed up and police patrolling intensified across the country, especially in the border districts, in the view of the celebrations. Bomb-disposal squads will be deployed at the main function venues in every state.

(With inputs from agencies)

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