Special ground-to-air security apparatus for Independence Day at Red Fort

New Delhi, Aug 14: Around 10,000 security personnel from the Delhi Police and paramilitary forces will keep a hawk-eyed vigil at Red Fort and the area surrounding it during the Independence Day celebrations on Friday. A multi-layered security cover has been put in place along with a ground-to-air security apparatus to pre-empt any possible terror strikes in the city with special emphasis on the region around the venue.

Narendra Modi will address people for the first time from the ramparts of the Red Fort after becoming the Prime Minister. Besides around 5,000 personnel from the local police, those from the Special Cell and Security wing of the Delhi Police will also be pressed into service for security arrangements while the traffic police will take care of smooth traffic flow.

Sharpshooters of NSG and spotters will be deployed on the high-rises near the 17th century Mughal fort, officials said. Specialised units like Quick Reaction Teams, Bomb squad, Dog squad, SWAT and Vajra will be deployed along with the commando units of Delhi Police at strategic locations, police said. The Prime Minister’s immediate security will be managed by the Special Protection Group (SPG).

Besides the patrolling of the skies by helicopters, an air defence mechanism will be put in place around the venue. Heightened security will also be in place along the route to be taken by the Prime Minister’s cavalcade and around Rajghat, where he will lay a wreath at the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi early morning.

Police has also installed around 200 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the vicinity of the red Fort while about 500 have been installed on all routes leading to the venue. A central control room has been built at the Red Fort where senior officials will constantly monitor the situation. On Friday, only those vehicles carrying parking stickers will be allowed on the routes in the vicinity of Red Fort.

“A fool-proof security plan is in place and we are prepared for any eventuality. People from the general public are requested to cooperate,” said a senior Delhi Police official. Additional manpower from CISF and Delhi Police has been put on duty on important public facilities like Delhi Metro and IGI Airport in addition to other crowded areas like market places, railway stations, inter-state bus terminals and other establishments of strategic importance.

“Barricades and checking has been intensified within the city and at the borders. Special checking of all vehicles, both private and commercial, entering Delhi from the neighbouring states through border entry points is being carried out,” the official said.

With arrangements been made to seat around 10,000 people from the general public, workload for security agencies has further increased this time. Security agencies are constantly reviewing the arrangements at Red Fort and have zeroed in on the ‘safe houses’ where the Prime Minister and other leaders could be taken in case of a terrorist strike, officials added. The visitors, however, will not be allowed to carry mobile phones, cameras, binoculars, handbags, briefcases, cigarette lighters, transistors, lunch boxes, water bottles, lunch boxes, etc, to the venue and would be subjected to heavy security checks.