Delhi Police hire buses to use as blockade on I-Day, snuff out security breaches
Delhi is already on a high-alert in the wake of intelligence inputs regarding “possible disturbance” by terrorist outfits during the Independence Day celebrations.
To avoid a situation like last year’s Republic Day when agitating farmers on tractors and foot broke through police barricades and stormed the historic Red Fort complex, the Delhi Police are hiring buses to use them as blockades to deal with any possible security breach during the Independence Day celebrations on August 15, senior police officers aware of the development said.
The city is already on a high-alert in the wake of intelligence inputs regarding “possible disturbance” by terrorist outfits during the Independence Day celebrations, they said.
More than a dozen such buses are being hired by the procurement department of the city police. Initially, the police department planned to hire buses from Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). However, the idea was dropped and the department has now decided to hire buses from private operators because it was “cheaper”, the officers said .
A final deal on the procurement is still in process, one of the officers said, asking not to be named.
“The decision to use buses as blockades in emergency situation was taken keeping in view last Republic Day’s violence at the Red Fort, and the fact that iron and concrete barricades would not be effective if terrorists used heavy vehicles to break through the security apparatus and execute a terror attack. The buses would be positioned in such a way that no vehicle could pass through it,” said the officer.
On Monday, the Delhi Police said that they have prepared a “flawless and foolproof” ground-to-air security cover around the historic Red Fort for the 75th Independence Day celebrations on August 15, for which more than 10,000 security personnel, including commandos armed with sophisticated weapons, will be deployed at different positions across the monument and the routes leading to the venue.
Over 1,000 high-definition CCTV cameras, a majority of them Internet Protocol (IP) enabled, are being installed in and around the fort and the routes to keep a close vigil on suspects and suspicious activities. A control room is being set-up inside the Red Fort complex to monitor live feed from the CCTVs that are being installed, in addition to cameras that are already installed by the Delhi government and private people.
The city police have already announced that the five-kilometre area around the historic fort will be declared a “no kite flying zone” till the flag-hoisting ceremony and the PM’s address to the nation from its ramparts is over. This is in addition to the usual order prohibiting the flying of aerial objects such as drones, paragliders, hang gliders, and hot air balloons in the national capital till August 16 due to security reasons.
To contain balloons and kite-flying, over 400 regular kite fliers have been identified and will be deployed at the Red Fort and nearby areas to snag kites flying towards the venue. These kite flyers are also assisting the police in making people aware about the order that flying of kites will be banned till 9 am on August 15, and violating the order may attract legal action, the police said.
During the Prime Minister’s Independence Day address in 2017, a kite had landed just below the podium. However, the PM continued with his address unfazed.
“We have made flawless and foolproof security arrangements for the Independence Day celebrations in Delhi. Apart from deployment of over 10,000 security personnel, there will be a special focus this year on containing sub-conventional aerial objects. Real-time coordination with intelligence and central agencies is being maintained along with interstate coordination. We are also carrying out massive checking to detect the presence of IEDs (improvised explosive devices), if any,” said special commissioner of police (law & order) Dependra Pathak.
Meanwhile, police have beefed up security measures across Delhi, intensifying patrolling and conducting anti-sabotage checks. Hotels, guesthouses, parking lots and restaurants are being checked, and a verification drive of tenants and servants is being carried out. The city police are in touch with the central as well as state agencies and acting on all the inputs regarding anti-national elements coming their way, said Pathak.
“We would like to appeal to the public that any suggestions and instructions coming from police, be it regarding the verification of tenants, servants, hotel verification, any place that leads to any kind of sabotage, be alert and inform the police about it,” Pathak said.
About the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB’s) suggestion to monitor the areas in Delhi where Rohingya refugees are living, Pathak said “an institutionalised mechanism is in place to keep a tab on the Rohingya and the intelligence wing of Delhi Police is already working on it”.