About 70,000 Delhi Police personnel kept a tight vigil over the national capital, especially around the Red Fort where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on the 71st Independence Day today. The city has been put under an unprecedented ground-to- air security cover in view of the twin occasions of the Independence Day and Janmashtami festival, a senior police officer said. Thousands of security personnel, including 9,100 personnel from the Delhi Police, have been deployed in and around the historic Mughal fort which will see the presence of senior ministers, top bureaucrats, foreign dignitaries and common people during the prime minister’s address.
Two dozen Parakram Vans manned by quick reaction teams of NSG-trained commandos have been stationed in areas with high footfall to thwart any attempt by terror groups to disrupt peace. As many as 11 such vans have been deployed in the area around the Red Fort. “There is multi-tier security in place. The area is being monitored by CCTV cameras and there are multi-tier security checks in place for people coming to the area,” said the senior police officer. At the Red Fort, a special team of NSG snipers and commandos formed the inner layers of the security cordon while anti-aircraft guns have been deployed to thwart any aerial intrusion by objects like drones and projectiles, senior police officials said.
The Delhi Police has already prohibited aerial activities, including para-gliding, flying UAVs and hot air balloons, across the city. Also, police are surveying the areas in the vicinity of the Red Fort and have collected details of over 9,000 people residing there. The buildings facing the Red Fort is being secured by police and paramilitary personnel. Security along the route to be taken by the prime minister’s cavalcade from his official residence to the Red Fort was being monitored with the help of hundreds of CCTV cameras.
Special “spotters” of the Delhi Police and paramilitary forces are keeping an eye on parking areas. Over 60 sniffer dogs of paramilitary forces and the Delhi Police will also be part of the extensive security deployment. Preliminary security arrangements were made in July and senior police and intelligence officials have been regularly taking stock of the arrangements to weed out any shortcomings and glitches. Delhi Metro services are running as usual. However, stations like Lal Quila, Jama Masjid, Delhi Gate and ITO are having restricted entry and exit during the ceremony owing to security considerations. Parking is not available at the stations till 2 PM in view of the security measures.
Security around prominent temples like the Iskcon temple, Lakshmi Narayan temple and the Gouri Shankar temple has been ramped up since large congregations of devotees are expected on Janmasthami festival, the birthday of Lord Krishna.