Heart of Delhi locked down for new PM Narendra Modi's swearing-in

Written by Ananya Bhardwaj | New Delhi | Updated: May 26 2014, 16:41pm hrs
The swearing-in ceremony of Indias 15th Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to be witnessed by nearly 4,000 invitees, including the heads of state and governments of SAARC nations will be guarded by a ground-to-air security paraphernalia involving over 6,000 security personnel.

Delhi Police said the security system put in place for the ceremony is on a par with security arrangements made for the Republic Day parade. The paraphernalia includes positioning anti-aircraft guns at classified locations, snipers on all highrise buildings, mobile hit and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams, besides the security cover by paramilitary and police commandos.

It is a difficult situation as seven heads of state are coming to attend the ceremony and high security needs to be provided to all of them. We are providing a three-tier security to them even at the hotels they are staying in. Police personnel from outside the district are also assisting us, a senior police officer said.

Prohibitory orders have been clamped in entire New Delhi district. Since a full air defence grid is in place, any airborne activity, including hot air balloons, will not be allowed. Dog and bomb-disposal squads have already sanitised the venue, and the drill will be repeated several times on Monday. NSG commandos will form the innermost layer of security, M K Meena, Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi district), said.

Police said North Block, South Block and defence buildings around Rashtrapati Bhawan will be shut at 1 pm on Monday, following which they will be sanitised by security agencies and their rooftops secured.

Only official vehicles will be allowed inside, while commandos and local police will strengthen the operations of traffic police.

The security blanket will be operational till the time all invitees leave Rashtrapati Bhawan, Meena said.

The roads around Raisina Hills leading to Rashtrapati Bhawan will be barricaded as part of the security measures. When the heads of the SAARC countries leave for the venue, the entire route to Rashtrapati Bhawan will be sanitised to ensure secure movement of the VVIPs.

A first: Sign language interpreters at ceremony

For the first time in India, sign language interpreters will be part of Narendra Modis swearing-in ceremony on Monday.

As many as three Indian sign language interpreters would be on duty at the swearing-in ceremony to ensure that the oath-taking and related ceremonies are interpreted for as many as 18 million citizens of India, who are hearing impaired.

This is a historic first. It has been a long-standing demand that at all important public events, sign language interpretation should be made available so that people who are hearing impaired are not left out and that the event is made accessible to them as well, Javed Abidi, convenor of the Disabled Rights Group (DRG), said.

On Saturday, a delegation of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) met BJP president Rajnath Singh, urging him to ensure the presence of sign language interpreters at the swearing-in ceremony.

Doordarshan has confirmed that the sign language interpreters would be available not only at the ceremony, but the telecast would also be featuring the facility for such viewers across the country and even across the world, NADs Anuj Jain said.

Recently, hearing impaired protesters had demonstrated to ensure that the telecast of the Republic Day ceremony was made available in sign language. (By Geeta Gupta)