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Heightened surveillance in Srinagar ahead of R-Day

Srinagar, Jan 18: Authorities have been directed to set up a “comprehensive” security grid around the main venue for Republic Day event at SK Cricket Stadium Sonawar here on January 26.

For the last few years, the main events on August 15 and January 26 are being held at the Cricket Stadium instead at traditional venue, Bakshi Stadium, which is being renovated.

An official document reveals security agencies have been directed to make “all efforts for successful accomplishment of the event while maintaining close coordination in between and implement directives in this behalf in univocal terms”.

“Police and other security agencies shall ensure adequate and fool proof security arrangements in and around the venue. An extensive security plan shall be prepared by police department encompassing vital areas, movements, and entries. Deployment of executive magistrates shall be ensured at vital areas by district magistrates. Firm barricades shall be erected in an around the venue taking into consideration the security concerns,” the directives issued by divisional commissioner Kashmir office read.

An official of police department said that forces have been seeking details about people staying in hotels and guest houses in surrounding areas of the venue.

“The adjoining areas of the venue–Sonawar, Dalgate and Rajbagh–will remain under tight surveillance of the security forces. We have been receiving the personal details about the people staying in hotels and guest houses in these areas,” the official said.

He said the police and intelligence agencies have been directed to keep an eye on “suspected” persons in these areas.

“The security agencies don’t want to take any chances of lapses and every suspected movement is being scrutinized by CCTV cameras installed around the venue,” the official said.

Multiple checking points have been set up across Srinagar with forces looking for proof of identity from the people entering into the city.

The police have also issued an advisory to officers, asking them to keep vigil round-the-clock as several new check-points have been set up for frisking of people.

“The present security situation in the state and impending threats from anti-national elements, some nakas and frisking points have been established in the city as well as rural areas for the security and safety of the people,” the police advisory reads.  “People are requested to cooperate with police at naka and frisking points. Do not feel it as harassment by police,” it said.

The advisory said that from the ‘security’ point of view, it is requested to all the school managements in the district to not allow any stranger and give necessary precautionary instructions to students.

“People are also requested to take preventive actions like not touching any abandoned object, informing police immediately on seeing any suspicious person and object or material. If you have any information about any anti-national and anti-social elements, please contact your nearest police station or dial 100, which is available round-the-clock,” the advisory said.

It asked passengers travelling in vehicles to be alert while travelling and going at crowded places like bus stands, railway stations, shopping malls, and hospitals.

The advisory said that all the station house officers and incharge police posts have been directed to remain present in their respective jurisdiction round-the-clock.

Inspector General of Police Kashmir, S P Pani said that security agencies would make all adequate arrangements to ensure peaceful January 26 celebrations.

“Security has already been tightened to ensure there is no untoward accident,” he added.