As extensive programmes are scheduled to celebrate the 75th Independence Day across Jammu and Kashmir, elaborate security arrangements have also been made to secure the venues of these celebrations in all the 20 districts of the union territory.
The main national flag hoisting and parade will be held at the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium in Srinagar where Lt governor, Manoj Sinha will take salute.
His advisor, R.R. Bhatnagar will hoist the flag and preside over the main function at the Maulana Azad Stadium in Jammu city.
Flag hoisting, ceremonial parades and cultural programmes are scheduled at all the 20 district headquarters, block and tehsil level offices, educational institutions and Panchayats across J&K on August 15.
An elaborate security arrangement is in place to secure these functions and to ensure that the day’s celebrations are held without any disruption by the militants.
Days ahead of August 15, both the main venues in Srinagar and Jammu cities have been taken over by the security forces.
All buildings and other structures overlooking these venues have been taken over by the security forces whose sharp shooters are keeping a hawk’s eye in and around the two stadia in Srinagar and Jammu.
Aerial surveillance through drones, ground surveillance through human and electronic intelligence has been stepped up this year because of the recent incidents in which the militants had used drones for sabotage etc at sensitive installations.
“Sniffer dogs and men in civvies are deployed at all sensitive installations. All arrangements have been put in place to ensure that the celebrations on August 15 are held smoothly.
“All vehicles entering Srinagar and Jammu cities and the occupants of these are thoroughly checked while it is being ensured that the common man faces least inconvenience”, said a senior police officer.
Drop gates, static and mobile check posts are some of the features which are seen in all cities and towns of J&K ahead of August 15.
“We are ensuring that the element of surprise remains with the security forces and not with the terrorists”, said an intelligence officer.
The officer said there is total synergy between various security force agencies and the army which would be providing assistance to the local administration when and wherever it becomes necessary.
Despite all these exhaustive security arrangements in Srinagar and Jammu, life in the union territory is more relaxed this year than it has been during the last so many decades on occasions like the country’s Republic Day and the Independence Day.
Traffic has been moving normally in both Jammu and Kashmir divisions while for shops and other establishments, it is business as usual.
This is a perceptible departure from the past when an all pervasive fear used to grip the ordinary citizen on these occasions.