Nationwide security blanket ahead of Independence Day

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New Delhi, Aug 14: A tight security blanket was thrown across the country on the eve of Independence Day with an elaborate ground-to-air apparatus put in place in the national capital where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unfurl the tricolour on Saturday, Aug 15.

Over 40,000 security personnel have been deployed across Delhi to keep a hawk-eyed vigil against any possible terror strike.

independence day

More than 12,000 of these personnel, drawn from paramilitary forces and Delhi Police, have been deployed in high security areas, especially in and around the Red Fort from where Modi will address the nation.

The Union Home Ministry has issued an advisory to states and union territories especially in the backdrop of recent terror strikes in Gurdaspur in Punjab and Udhampur in Jammu.

It warned that Pakistan-based terrorist groups and their Indian affiliates like Indian Mujahideen and members of ex-SIMI may possibly target places like Lotus Temple, malls in Noida, Metro stations, BJP offices and political personalities.

Security has also been beefed up in the northeastern states, particularly in Assam where four IEDs have been recovered in Kokrajhar and Nagaon districts since last night.

A Kamtapur Liberation Organisation militant planting an explosive device on the railway track between Kokrajhar and Guwahati railway stations was also killed in a shootout.

Security in Jammu and Kashmir, areas sharing porous borders with Nepal and Bangladesh have also been beefed up with forces maintaining "strict access control and anti- sabotage checks" besides intensify patrolling and keeping strict vigil. 

Over 500 CCTV cameras have been installed in and around the Red Fort.

A centralised control room has been set up as part of the security drill. Security in Jammu and Kashmir, North Eastern States and porous borders with Nepal and Bangladesh will be beefed up with forces maintaining "strict access control and anti-sabotage checks".

Patrolling will be stepped up and strict vigil will be kept on places like Railway Stations and tracks, bus stands, airports and entry points, the sources said.

The security agencies will be keeping an eye on their own officials as there is a potent threat of possible impersonation by the persons taking part in parades, they said.

The forces will also be maintaining a close vigil on the areas frequented by foreign nationals to avoid any untoward incident.

"Recent incidents of ceasefire violations by Pak army in the bordering areas of sensitive districts of Jammu and Kashmir with the intentions to facilitate pushing of armed terrorists in different sub-sectors, indicate that Pakistan establishment is desperate to infiltrate armed insurgents to our side for fomenting trouble especially during the run-up to the Independence day," the advisory said.

"There is reportedly, an increased presence of militants across Samba and Kathua before infiltration attempts are made from these areas into Jammu region. Similar concentration has also been reported across Poonch and Rajouri districts on the LOC," it said.

The Home Ministry has received inputs that terrorists might try to use drones and hang gliders.

It has advised the security forces to keep an eye on remote pilotless vehicles, remote controlled aircraft, para gliders and hang gliders, open grounds and spaces, abandoned air strips etc.

The Delhi Police will be keeping an eye in the sky through helicopters, anti-aircraft guns being kept ready by armed forces to thwart any such attempt to disturb the celebrations.

Heightened security cover has been put in place around Rajghat where Modi will lay a wreath at the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi before proceeding to Red Fort, the officials said.

The human intelligence network in view of terror threat was strengthened over one-and-a-half months ago.

No cameras, binoculars, handbags, briefcases, transistors, cigarette lighters, tiffin boxes, mobile phones, water bottles, lunch boxes, etc will be permitted at Red Fort, police said.

Security agencies have warned about a possible 26/11 style influx of terrorists from the sea and an attack on BJP offices and asked the forces to remain alert on the occasion of Independence Day to thwart any such attempt.

The advisory said that recent terror attack in Gurdaspur, several terror incidents in the past including serial blasts in Patna in 2013 targeting election rally of Narendra Modi indicated that threat emanates from Pakistan based terrorist groups and their Indian affiliates like the Indian Mujahideen.

The communication said an input received in September last year claims that terrorists have been planning to target BJP offices, commercial, tourist, religious, aviation and railway infrastructure in various states.

According to another uncorroborated input the ISI has "plan to hijack/explode Air India flights operating in Kabul-Delhi sector as they are being used by senior Indian officials."

The forces guarding the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bangla border, SSB and BSF respectively, have also been asked to remain on high alert following intelligence input that terrorists might also use these routes to infiltrate in the country to create disturbance on the Independence Day.

PTI

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