Red Fort becomes a bastion during PM speech

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New Delhi, Aug 15 (UNI) When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unfurled the national flag at the Red Fort here and started addressing the nation on the 62nd Independence Day today, a wide security umbrella was thrown across the national capital, and especially the venue, which virtually turned into a citadel with air surveillance at its peak and Delhi Police and central agencies personnel dotting the venue and positioning atop high-rise buildings in the vicinity of the fort.

In view of intelligence inputs regarding some militant outfits intending to cause harm to prominent political figures and ''symbols of national importance'' security around the Red Fort had been bolstered with a special focus on anti-sabotage measures, including anti-aircraft cannon. Two hundred special zoom cameras were also installed at the venue for the celebrations.

One hundred and seventy companies of security forces, including 30 paramilitary ones, were deployed across the length and breadth of the capital and those forces include commandos drawn from the ITBP and the NSG. Air defence measures were also taken with the Red Fort being declared a no-fly zone and helicopter surveillance maintained till the I-Day celebrations were over.

A special traffic arrangement had also been chalked out due to security concerns with some roads being closed and others diverted.

The entry of commercial vehicles in the capital was banned from midnight last night and only interstate buses were being allowed inside the capital.

But Metros across the city plied as usual and the Delhi Traffic Police issued an appeal to the public to use those services as maximum as possible so as to avoid inconvenience which may arise because of strict traffic arrangements being made for the day.

Close coordination was being maintained with neighbouring states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana to check movement of people and other things across the national capital border.

A close eye was also being kept on guest houses and taxi stands, where militants could possibly seek shelter ahead of I-Day.

Special instructions had been issued for invitees and the public coming to the venue for the I-Day celebrations to not to carry cameras, binoculars, handbags, briefcases, transistors, cigarette lighters, tiffin boxes, mobile phones and other such items.

The public had been asked to inform the police in case they came across any suspicious person, object, vehicle or activity.

Some roads, including Netaji Subash Marg from Delhi Gate to Chatta Rail, Chandni Chowk Road, New Darya Ganj Road and Link Road, were closed for general traffic from 0500 hrs to 0900 hrs and only labelled vehicles were permitted. Adequate informative signages were displayed for the guidance of vehicular traffic headed for the Red Fort function at all important traffic junctions.

Local city buses had been advised to avoid Ring Road from 0500 hrs to 0900 hrs between Hanuman Setu and Bhairon T point and take alternative routes available. But the moment the event was over the city buses started plying normally.

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