Hoshiarpur town turns into fortress ahead of Modi rally

  • Harpreet Kaur, Hindustan Times, Hoshiarpur
  • Updated: Apr 23, 2014 23:53 IST

Residents are facing the heat as the city has been turned into a fortress ahead of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's visit on Friday to address a rally in favour of party candidate Vijay Sampla.

Heavy police posse has been deployed not only in and around the venue at Roshan Ground in Model Town but also in other parts of the city. All roads leading to the venue and the helipad at the outdoor stadium have been heavily barricaded.

People living in the surroundings are having a harrowing time as their movement has been restricted. The entire area around the venue has been made a no-entry zone. The streets are choc-o-bloc with police vehicles and security personnel have taken positions on nearby rooftops.

A survey of all the buildings in the vicinity and background checks of residents has been conducted. Commuters are facing harassment as vehicles are being subjected to random checking at different points.

On Wednesday, director general of police Suresh Arora arrived in the city to take stock of the arrangements. Several high-ranking officers from various districts and police ranges gathered here to chalk out a foolproof security cordon for the Gujarat chief minister who will also be accompanied by his own security team.

Senior officers were seen holding training sessions for security forces on the roads itself. Commuters were bewildered as signboards had not been put up to guide them about diversions. Routes of school buses were also changed.

"We are also stressed but it is part of our job. We will be much relieved if Sonia Gandhi's visit on April 26 is cancelled," said a senior police official. Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Sushil Kumar, however, denied that common people were facing any inconvenience.

"Traffic is moving as usual. We have not imposed any restrictions so far but the needful has to be done," he claimed. Around 3,000 police personnel have been put on duty, he added.

The police have gone for the levelling of the entire venue to prevent any landmine being laid. All shrubs and weeds around the ground have been cleared. Sniffer dogs and anti-sabotage squads have also been pressed into service. No one except the identity card bearing security personnel or officials can go near the venue.

Modi will address from an elevated stage which has been erected from a distance from the audience. Around 25000-30,000 chairs have been arranged for the public, though organisers expect a much bigger gath.

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