Friday, January 26, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Capital turned into fortress
Anti-aircraft guns installed
From Syed Ali Ahmed

NEW DELHI, Jan 25 — The capital has been turned into a fortress with the Delhi Police and para-military forces throwing an unprecedented security cover, amidst threats from Pakistan-backed terrorist outfits, to ensure an incident-free Republic Day celebrations.

Leaving nothing to chance, a special bullet-proof enclosure has been raised at Rajpath from where the President Mr K.R. Narayanan will take the salute and other VVIPs will be seated and a three-ring security cover has been thrown around 3-km radius of Rajpath.

While for the first time crack commandos will be positioned all along the parade route from Vijay Chowk to Red Fort, missile-detecting radars have been stationed at strategic positions to thwart any possible aerial attack.

Indian Air Force helicopters would also be pressed into service to keep a watch on the movement of the crowd at the venue.

As a fool-proof security measure, the security agencies sealed all buildings in the vicinity of Rajpath this afternoon even as sharp-shooters and commandos perched on the top of the buildings kept a hawk’s eye.

As the R-Day drew close, anti-sabotage squads along with Bomb Disposal Squads and Sniffer Dogs’ Squads conducted an elaborate anti-landmine search operation even as the para-military forces along with Delhi Police personnel guarded all entry points to the venue of parade.

“For the first time such a qualitative security arrangements have been made in the capital as we do not want to take any chance in the wake of threats from militant outfits,” Joint Commissioner (Security) R.S. Gupta told The Tribune.

As the military prowess of the nation rolled down the historic Rajpath, plain clothed sleuths seated along with the audience will keep a close watch on the movement of the people coming to the audience enclosure.

Besides, securitymen with binoculars will be positioned on specially erected “high-platforms” to maintain strict vigil.

The security of the VVIPs, including the visiting Algerian President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika, were reviewed at the highest level even as the Intelligence Bureau closely monitored intelligence inputs on terrorist outfits.

Strike squadrons of the Air Force have been put on alert to thwart any aerial attack by the militants even as anti-aircraft guns and surface-to-air missiles have been deployed as well.

The air corridor over the parade venue will remain out of bounds as it has been declared as “no-fly” zone.

As part of the security drill, Delhi Police personnel conducted an exhaustive checking at the suspected militant outfits like guest houses, hotels and motels, especially in the Walled-city area, South Delhi and Trans-Yamuna area.

Mounted Police and Rapid Action Force have been deployed on all radial roads leading to the parade venue as well as the route passing through Janpath, Connaught Place, Minto Road, Ajmeri Gate, Khari Baoli, Fatehpuri, Chandani Chowk and the Red Fort, culmination point of the parade.

Exigency arrangements have also been made by romping in Police Control Room (PCR) Vans, Fire Brigades and Ambulances.

For an interruption-free communication, the Delhi Police has set-up a special wire-less network for Republic Day security-related reportage.

Delhi Police Commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma has also announced a reward of Rs 50,000 on each of the four Lashkar-e-Toiba/ISI militants, suspected to have sneaked into the national capital on the eve of Republic Day.

“Any person giving information leading to the apprehension of the militants — Ezaj Rasool, Hashim Baig, Usman and Sikander — would be given the reward money and his identity would be kept a secret, if he desired so,” Mr Sharma said in a statement.

He also appealed to the general public to cooperate with the police and inform the police control room immediately if they come across any ‘strange’ person or object.


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