Multi-layered security arrangements are in place for the 73rd Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort, from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on August 15, officials said on Tuesday.
In view of the Centre abrogating the constitutional provisions that accorded a special status to Jammu and Kashmir and amid tensions with Pakistan, security has been tightened across the national capital and the neighbouring border areas.
The multi-layered security ring, including National Security Guard (NSG) snipers, elite SWAT commandos and kite catchers, will be placed around the Red Fort.
Special deployments have been made by the SPG and different components of the Army and paramilitary forces, along with around 20,000 Delhi Police personnel, including those from the traffic wing.
For the first time, Delhi Police will be using cameras equipped with a facial recognition software to identify suspects around the Red Fort and the adjoining areas. There will be elaborate traffic arrangements with optimal deployment of staff and signage for public convenience.
A watch is being kept with the installation of around 500 CCTV cameras in and around the Red Fort, which will see the presence of senior ministers, top bureaucrats, foreign dignitaries and common people during the prime minister’s address. The roads leading to the Red Fort will also be under surveillance..
Apart from securing the main venue at the Red Fort, adequate security arrangements for the “At Home” function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan have also been made. At every entry point, checking and frisking will be done through door-framed metal detectors (DFMDs) and hand-held metal detectors (HHMDs).
Special motorcycle squads have been deployed. Baggage scanners have been placed at all the entry points of the venue and an extensive checking of vehicles is going on in different areas of the north and central districts of the city.
Anti-drone detachment and snipers have been placed in and around the Red Fort. Special “spotters” of Delhi Police as well as paramilitary personnel will also be keeping an eye on the parking areas. Sniffer dogs are also part of the extensive security deployment.
“We have made extensive security arrangements for the safety of those coming to the Red Fort. Drills and rehearsals have taken place. We will ensure safe and smooth Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Nupur Prasad said.
Special control rooms have been set up on the Red Fort premises to receive alerts and inform the security agencies. Policemen in plain clothes have also been deployed to keep an eye on suspicious activities.
The Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) unit and “Parakram” vans of Delhi Police are also involved in guarding the venue. The police are carrying out anti-sabotage checks in the area and visiting the hotels in the vicinity in search of suspicious elements, officials said.
The police have already prohibited aerial activities, including unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned aircraft systems, paragliders, paramotors, hang-gliders, micro-light aircraft, remotely-piloted aircraft, hot air balloons, small-size aircraft, quadcopters, till August 15. Any person contravening this order will be liable for criminal prosecution, they said.
The Delhi Traffic Police has also issued an advisory for the Independence Day function at the Red Fort. Metro services will be normal on August 15, with restrictions on entry and exit at some of the stations on the Violet Line. All metro stations will remain open on Independence Day but parking at the stations will be closed from 6 am on August 14 till 2 pm on August 15.