Tight security for Republic Day functions in J&K

Jammu/Srinagar, Jan 25 (IANS) Tight security has been put in place for Republic Day celebrations in both Jammu and Srinagar, including deployment of over 1,000 security personnel at Maulana Azad Stadium here.

The measures taken by security forces include drop gates, electronic access control equipment, unmanned aerial vehicles, drones and closed circuit television around sensitive installations in both cities.

Army personnel have been deployed around the Tawi river in Jammu while security on railway tracks between Jammu and Pathankot has also been stepped up.

Security agencies have shifted their focus to Jammu after two decades, a fallout of the January 2 terror attack at Pathankot airbase in Punjab.

Over two dozen anti-social elements have been taken into preventive custody in the border districts of Samba, Kathua and Jammu.

The army has pressed spotlights-fitted helicopters into service to carry out reconnaissance in sensitive areas.

“We have put in place three-tier security arrangements”, director general of police (DGP) K. Rajendra Kumar said, adding that no specific intelligence inputs about a possible terror attack in Jammu or elsewhere in the state had been received.

In Srinagar, security around the Bakshi Stadium has been beefed up for the January 26 parade. The main bus stand in Jammu will be closed on Tuesday for security reasons.

“We have been reviewing security arrangements ahead of the Republic Day on a daily basis to ensure no untoward incident takes places anywhere on Tuesday,” the DGP said.

Meanwhile, police checked vehicles and carried out frisking of commuters at various places in Jammu, leading to traffic snarls at many places.

With the presence of security forces in strength in Srinagar, traffic flow was less than usual since morning as people tried to avoid inconvenience due to frequent checks and restricted traffic movement.

A full dress rehearsal was held at the Maulana Azad stadium in Jammu on Saturday after which the venue was taken over by the army. The authorities have arranged for free transport for people to attend the Republic Day function in Jammu.

Security around the army officers’ residential accommodations in Kaluchak, Akhnoor, Samba and Mirian Sahib towns has also been strengthened.

District magistrates are scheduled to hoist the national flag and take the salute at all district headquarters since governor’s rule was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir on January 8.

The army will provide peripheral security in all border districts as the Border Security Force – which mans the 210-km international border in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts – too has deployed additional force.

Separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik have called for a protest shutdown in the valley on Republic Day.

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