Guests at the 71st Republic Day parade at Rajpath, New Delhi on January 26, 2020.(Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)
Guests at the 71st Republic Day parade at Rajpath, New Delhi on January 26, 2020.(Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

Police to keep an eye out for CAA protesters at Republic Day parade

With slew of stringent measures in place, officers will also look for anti-citizenship law messages written on visitors’ clothes. Facial recognition cameras is also in place.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Anvit Srivastava
UPDATED ON JAN 26, 2020 10:31 AM IST

This Republic Day, the Delhi Police will keep an eye out for parade clothed in black as well as those trying to reach India Gate carrying placards or messages related to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) or the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Officers on the ground will also watch out for anti-Citizenship Law messages that may be written on the clothes of the visitors. The police have also installed 30 high-resolution facial recognition cameras at the Red Fort as well as around India Gate to identify terror suspects or anyone else who could disrupt law and order during the parade. The cameras have facial recognition software that would be able to detect probable suspects, whose photographs are on the police server. The Delhi Police had used such software during Republic Day celebrations last year as well.

Apart from this, heavy security arrangements will be in place with spotters on the roofs of houses around Red Fort, snipers on high-rise buildings near India Gate, dog squads, bomb detection, and disposal teams, and the deployment of the anti-terror squad. Anti-terror Parakram vans and additional armed police have also been deployed at market places, shopping malls, monuments and important government buildings across the city, the police said.

Senior police officers, who did not wish to be named, said the police have received inputs suggesting that groups that have been staging protests against the CAA and NRC across the Capital may try to reach the venue of the Republic Day celebration. An officer privy to the security arrangement details, who did not wish to be named, said the security personnel had been specifically briefed to be on the lookout for visitors wearing black clothes—they would be checked and allowed into the venue only after detailed verification. The police also said that those wearing clothes with slogans supporting or opposing the CAA or NRC will not be allowed in the vicinity of the parade.

“All the visitors will be thoroughly checked for placards or posters related to CAA or NRC,” the officer said.

Over the last month, the national Capital has witnessed several anti-CAA protests in different parts of the city. In Shaheen Bagh, around 500 protesters—mostly women—have blocked Road 13 A, which connects Delhi and Noida, since December 15.

When asked, additional deputy commissioner of police (north) Dinesh Gupta said they have briefed the staff accordingly to take all necessary precautions. “No visitor is allowed to bring anything with them to the venue. Like every year, every visitor will be thoroughly frisked. No one will be allowed to enter with placards or posters,” he said.

Gupta said people wearing black clothes will be allowed after proper verification and profiling. “Anyone who attempts to disrupt the law and order situation will be detained without delay,” Gupta said.

Apart from this, police officers said they have deployed sharpshooters and snipers on high-rise buildings to keep a watch on the 8-km-long parade route from Rajpath to the Red Fort. More than 500 high-resolution cameras have been installed around the parade path to capture every movement.

Deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi) Eish Singhal said around 5,000 local police personnel, along with more than 500 personnel from the central armed paramilitary forces will secure the perimeter around India Gate and Red Fort.

“Anti-terror Parakram vans and the central armed police force have been strategically deployed across the district. Additional deployment at important government buildings and monuments has also been ensured,” he said.

As many as 1,000 traffic policemen have been deployed to ensure a smooth vehicular flow as there will be road closures because of the parade, the police said.

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