Republic Day: Kashmir Wrapped Under Security Blanked

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Forces personnel checking the vehicles and pedestrians at Sonwar in Srinagar on Saturday as security has been beefed up a head of R-day .

SRINAGAR – The security apparatus on Saturday was further intensified in Srinagar and other major towns and cities of the Valley to ensure smooth conduct of January 26 celebrations amid threats of possible militant attacks.

Reports said that all roads leading to S K cricket stadium at high security Sonawar, the venue for main RD function in Kashmir valley have been closed for any civilian movement. For the first time chairmen of Block Development Councils (BDCs) will unfurl tri-colour in their respective blocks.

Besides contingents from Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMFs), Home Guard, Fire and Emergency service and police, students from different Jammu schools will participate in the RD function tomorrow. Girl students who had come from Jammu to perform here said they are very excited. Some of the students in Kashmiri dresses said this was their

Meanwhile, government forces and Jammu and Kashmir police are searching vehicles and frisking travellers at different parts of the city to ensure peaceful celebration of 1st RD function after the state was downgraded and divided into two Union Territories (UTs).

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir range, Vijay Kumar said that all necessary security measures are in place to conduct RD in the valley.

He said additional Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) have been deployed in Kashmir, including Srinagar, to foil any attempt to disrupt RD functions on Sunday.

He said police is using latest gadgets to keep a close surveillance in the valley, particularly in Srinagar.

Official sources said that sharp shooters from different security agencies have been deployed around the S K Stadium and other sensitive places in the city.

Drones are also being pressed into service to keep a close vigil on pedestrian and vehicular movement in the city, particularly in the areas adjacent to stadium.

We have already intensified foot and night patrolling in areas around five km from stadium to thwart any militant attempt to cause any disturbance, sources said.

The main road near the stadium has been closed and sniffer dogs and metal dictator were pressed into service in the main cricket stadium, nearby school and other adjacent buildings.

Large number of security personnel were deployed in and outside the stadium to prevent any disturbance. Government forces have also set up bunkers on the road and only those having valid passes are allowed to enter the area.

In early 90s militants were firing rockets and grenades towards Bakshi stadium during RD and Independence Day functions. However, later due to unprecedented security arrangements there was no such attack after 1996 when civilian government headed by Dr Farooq Abdullah took over.

For the past few years RD and ID functions are being held at S K Stadium instead of Bakshi stadium which is under renovation.

Senior police officials visited Hari Singh High Street (HSHS) this afternoon to review the security arrangements. Roadside vendors were also not allowed to put up their stalls in most city areas. Police also asked vendors, who were occupying foothpath on Amira Kadal bridge not to put up their stalls today and tomorrow.

Additional security men had also been deployed in the Gantaghar and historic Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the summer capital.

Similar security measures are in place in other parts of the Kashmir valley, where RD functions will be held at all district, tehsil and block headquarters tomorrow.

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