Security in India intensified ahead of I-Day celebrations
The army, police and paramilitary troopers have increased surveillance across 3 north eastern states, J&K and some Maoist affected states to quell possible attacks by separatist militants.Updated: Aug 13, 2007 18:58 IST
In a major security crackdown ahead of Independence Day celebrations, the army, police and paramilitary troopers on Monday increased surveillance across three north eastern states, Jammu and Kashmir and some Maoist affected states to quell possible attacks by separatist militants.
Even in the capital, Delhi, and financial hub, Mumbai, both of which have been often targeted by militants, security arrangements were taken to an unparalleled level as police intensified patrols at important installations and tightened security at airports, railway stations, parliament, bus terminals and crowded markets.
Hundreds of security personnel were deployed across the three northeastern states of Assam, Tripura, and Manipur, with authorities sounding a maximum security alert.
Rebel groups in Assam have already gone on a rampage killing 36 people, including 28 Hindi-speaking migrant workers, in separate raids in the past week, linked to Independence Day.
Authorities in Assam were taking no chances, carrying out a massive frisking operation across the state to thwart rebel attacks and explosions. The state has already witnessed 10 explosions since Aug 5.
Several rebel groups in northeastern states, prominent among them being the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), have called for a dawn-to-dusk general strike Aug 15 to boycott the national celebrations.
In the national capital, security forces have turned the Red Fort, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to unfurl the tricolour and deliver his address to the nation, into a citadel.
"We will have in place an unparalleled ground-to-air security apparatus for Independence Day. Security will be tighter and flawless in view of certain threats," said S.B. Deol, special commissioner of Delhi Police who is in charge of security.
Intelligence inputs indicate that certain terror networks may be planning suicide car bomb attacks to target prominent political leaders and symbols of national importance.
In Kashmir, security forces have been put on maximum alert, roadblocks have been put up at various points leading to the summer capital Srinagar and house-to-house searches are being conducted in some areas.
With reports that infiltration from across the border into the state has increased this year in comparison to last year, the authorities are carrying out area domination operations to keep the guerrillas on the run.
"With the current scenario in the country and threats by Al Qaeda to strike in India, we are taking everything seriously," said an intelligence department official.
Road barricades and drop gates were erected at many points in Anantnag and Baramulla towns. Security forces in Srinagar were also frisking commuters and pedestrians.
All roads leading to the Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar where the main Independence Day parade is scheduled to be held have been sealed and cross-parked paramilitary trucks and concertina barbed wires were in place to thwart any suicide attacks by terrorists.
Snipers were positioned at all adjacent high-rise buildings to ensure that these were not used by guerrillas for rocket launches in the direction of the parade venue.
Separatist groups including senior hardline leaders like Syed Ali Geelani and armed separatist groups like the Hizbul Mujahideen have given a protest shutdown call for Aug 15.
Security was also beefed up at several key villages and government buildings in the central state of Chhattisgarh that has witnessed a dramatic upsurge in Maoist violence.
"We are increasing deployment of paramilitary troopers in some rural pockets as we have intelligence information that Maoists could resort to violence for shock value," a senior home ministry official said.
First Published: Aug 13, 2007 18:55 IST