Security forces seal Srinagar on R-Day eve
Heavy security is in place across Kashmir Valley on the eve of India's Republic Day to prevent any possible terrorist strike.india Updated: Jan 25, 2008 12:26 IST
Heavy security is in place across Kashmir Valley on the eve of India's Republic Day to prevent any possible terrorist strike. But the arrangements have put the common man to severe hardship.
All the entry points into summer capital Srinagar have been sealed with police and paramilitary patrols searching vehicles and passengers to prevent any guerrilla attempts to disrupt the official functions on Republic Day.
Bakshi Stadium, the venue of the main Republic Day parade in Srinagar, has been taken over by security forces two days ahead of January 26. Sniffer dogs and bomb detection squads have been employed to sanitise the stadium and its adjoining residential areas.
The frequent halting of traffic for frisking commuters is causing inconvenience to people in Srinagar.
"My usual travel time of two hours daily has increased to four in the last three days," said Gulam Ahmad Gojri, a bank employee living in the Badgam district.
"The bus in which I travelled from my home to the city today was stopped at five places for checking by the security men," he said.
High-rise buildings that could be used by militants to fire rocket grenades into the stadium have been taken over by sharpshooters of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Jammu and Kashmir Police.
Barricades have been erected on all roads leading to the stadium to prevent suicide attacks.
Even though police and paramilitary forces here are working at a feverish pitch to maintain law and order, summer capital Srinagar is definitely less tense this year than in the previous years.
"The overall decline in incidents of violence across the state is the main reason for the tensions being less this year on January 26," said a senior intelligence officer.
Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told the state legislature currently in session in the winter capital Jammu that violence had declined by nearly 34 per cent in 2007 in comparison to the previous year.
All separatist parties, including both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and hardliner Syed Ali Geelani, have called for a general shutdown on Saturday.
"The security arrangements are part of the usual drill carried out by the security forces in Kashmir to ensure the smooth conduct of official functions on January 26," a senior police officer told IANS in Srinagar.
Reports from all other district headquarters of the valley said the security forces had been put on maximum alert to thwart any sabotage and subversion by the guerrillas.