Valley On Alert For Jan 26

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SRINAGAR: Security agencies are on high alert across Jammu and Kashmir for Republic Day on Saturday over apprehensions of a major strike by militant groups to show their presence.

Though light police and paramilitary deployments were made in Srinagar on Friday too, security presence and procedures on streets were less obtrusive than in earlier years, speaking of a greater degree of control by surveillance and other pre-emptive measures.

Nevertheless, the Bakhshi Stadium, the venue of the main function in Kashmir, had been taken over several days in advance, with a three-tier security ring thrown around it today.

Thoroughfares along the stadium have been sealed off for civilian traffic, and habitations in the vicinity sanitized.

Republic Day venues at district headquarters too have been brought under tight cordons.

The security apparatus in the Valley, particularly Srinagar, had been set into motion over a week before the occasion due to what sources termed as intelligence inputs about a possible militant strike on or before January 26.

The move came in the backdrop of warnings by militant groups that violence in the region could “turn ugly” and a series of grave ceasefire violations across the LoC which heightened Indo-Pak tensions.

Troops on the dividing line have been ordered to maintain extra vigil.

In calibrated measures over the past days, entry into the city was being strictly monitored and registered with frisking of vehicles and passengers.

Sources spoke of plainclothes-men having been posted to mingle with crowds in busy markets and other public places, and surveillance cameras put into round-the-clock operation.

 With a three-day holiday on account of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (pbuh), the Republic Day and Sunday, the ski-resort of Gulmarg was said to have registered a heavy rush, with families booking accommodation for the prolonged weekend.

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