Diwali: Security tightened in Delhi

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New Delhi, Nov 9: The city on Diwali today virtually assumed the shape of a fortress with the Delhi Police putting muscle in general patrolling and ramping up the security apparatus in almost every part,including markets, railway stations and metros, ensuring that the city residents gleefully celebrate the festival of lights.

The Delhi Police has put in place heightened security measures and has been taking rounds of all major markets to avoid any untoward incident like the bomb blasts that rocked the capital in October 2005 on the eve of Diwali, claiming 59 lives.

Metal detectors are erected at the entry points of major markets like Sarojini Nagar, Kamla Nagar, Lajpat Nagar and Karol Bagh. There is heavy deployment of security personnel across the city. The city hospitals have also been put on alert to face any kind of eventuality.

A general announcement is being made from time to time in markets and intersections informing the public to be alert and vigil about any suspected object or person.

''We are maintaining a state of alert through measures like intensified patrolling, deployment of sniffer dogs and bomb-disposal squads and constant vigil of crowded places,'' Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said.

He added, ''The police, out in full strength, after 1730 hrs yesterday conducted patrolling of all the main parts and markets of the city and will be repeating the drill today also.'' ''Already, Railway authorities have stopped sale of platform tickets at the New Delhi and Old Delhi stations as part of its precautionary measures to avert any mishap,'' Mr Bhagat said.

''No chances are being taken, and we are doing our level best to ensure that it is an incident-free Diwali for the city residents.

All our senior officers and personnel will be out there in the field to make sure the security apparatus is intact. We want Delhiites to celebrate the festival with happiness and jubilation and the Delhi Police wishes all the city residents a very, very Happy Diwali,'' he wished.

A constant vigil is being maintained at the Railway stations too.

Furthermore, those travelling by trains were being subjected to increased frisking to avoid any untoward incident.

Police are also cracking down on those manufacturing illegal firecrackers and spurious liquor. Some gamblers have also landed in the police net as betting rackets once again raised their ugly heads ahead of the festival of lights.

Meanwhile, last night turned out to be another harrowing experience for those who ventured out to do the last-minute Diwali shopping as a shopping hysteria over took the Delhiites and markets were packed to the gills. There was virtually a mad scramble in jewellery, sweet, clothes and dried fruit shops.

Travelling on Delhi roads again proved a nightmarish experience last night. Traffic movement near some big markets, including South Extension, Lajpat Nagar and Sarojini Nagar, was reduced to a crawl and serpentine tailbacks, threatening to spill out any moment, could be witnessed in most parts of the capital.


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