In view of the 73rd Republic Day celebrations, Delhi has been brought under a heavy security cover as the city police has intensified patrolling and sealed the borders of the national capital in coordination with its counterparts from the neighbouring states to thwart any untoward incident amid a terror alert by intelligence agencies.
Over 27,000 police personnel have been deployed on Republic Day security duties in Delhi and anti-terror measures intensified, officials said.
According to the officials, the police personnel deployed include deputy commissioners, assistant commissioners, inspectors and sub-inspectors. Armed Police Force personnel and commandos, officers and jawans of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) have also been deployed. CCTVs fitted with a facial recognition software and anti-drone equipment have also been installed, police said.
All major border points of Delhi, including Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur, have been sealed to ensure incident-free and smooth Republic Day celebrations unlike last year. Extra pickets have been deployed and patrolling has been intensified at the border points, the officials said.
On January 26 last year, thousands of farmers protesting against three agriculture laws of the Centre entered Delhi on tractors and wreaked havoc on the city roads. They clashed with police and even hoisted a religious flag from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort, a privilege reserved for the Indian tricolour.
“We have sealed the borders and put up extra pickets in coordination with our counterparts. No commercial vehicles will be allowed to enter the national capital. Only permitted vehicles and those engaged in essential services will be allowed. Non-permitted vehicles will be sent back while at some borders, traffic diversions and alternate routes are also in place,” a senior police officer said.
The security personnel are keeping a hawk-eyed vigil over the venue, where President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be celebrating the occasion along with other dignitaries and thousands of people.
“We are fully prepared. We have been preparing for almost two months now. Elaborate arrangements with multi-layered security have been made all around the district. Vehicle checking would start at the borders of New Delhi district and it would become more and more stringent as you move towards the venue,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Deepak Yadav said.
Only vehicles with authorised passes or control passes that have already been issued will be allowed to move towards the function area, he added.
All the high-rise buildings have been covered with rooftop arrangements and anti-drone equipment has been installed on a number of these structures, the DCP said.
“With the help of multiple agencies, we have taken adequate measures against any kind of a drone attack or anti-social elements. At the same time, we have also briefed our staff to take adequate precautions to curb the spread of COVID-19. At the time of entry and exit, the staff have been briefed to ensure that it is done in a phased manner and there is no crowding at the entry and exit points,” he said.
Briefing the media on Saturday about the security arrangements, Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana had said a total of 27,723 Delhi Police personnel, including 71 DCPs, 213 ACPs and 753 inspectors, have been deployed for the Republic Day parade. They are being assisted by 65 companies of the CAPFs. Police said anti-terror measures have been intensified in coordination with other security agencies.
“Since the last two months, we have intensified our anti-terror measures. These measures have been taken on 26 parameters very intensively. It is also because Delhi has always been a target for terrorists and anti-social elements. This year too, we have been very much alert,” Asthana had said.
He mentioned that the anti-terror measures include blockades (naka bandi) at various places, checking of vehicles, hotels, lodges and dharamshalas and various verification drives like that of tenants, servants and labourers.
Counter-drone technology is being used for air space security. Security in and around the area where the Republic Day celebrations will take place has also been beefed up, Asthana said.
Security arrangements for the Central Vista project have also been made in coordination with the officers of the agencies working on the project, he added.
Besides the Delhi Police, other agencies have also been deployed to ensure foolproof security. About 200 teams have been working towards it.
About traffic arrangements, the police commissioner said an advisory was issued detailing specific restrictions on routes so that no inconvenience is caused to the public. According to a recent order, the operation of sub-conventional aerial platforms, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), paragliders and hot air balloons, over Delhi has been prohibited in view of the Republic Day celebrations. The order came into effect on January 20 and will remain in force till February 15.