August 5 Anniversary: Srinagar Placed Under Thick Security Blanket

 Forces personnel heightened vigil and carried out random searches in Srinagar on Thursday, a day ahead of the third anniversary of abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5, 2019. KO Photo.

Srinagar- Extraordinary security arrangements were put in place in Srinagar on Thursday ahead of the third anniversary of the nullification of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and in the aftermath of a militant attack in Srinagar on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s attack took place in Srinagar’s high security area, Aloochibagh which is barely two kilometres from SSP office, CARGO headquarters and Bakshi Stadium—a venue where administration has made all necessary arrangements to mobilize a massive crowd of over 15,000 people to celebrate the third anniversary of abrogation of Article 370. J&K’s Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha will preside over the event. He will also inaugurate the recently renovated stadium in the morning, before the main function starts.

The high alert is also a part of the comprehensive guidelines issued ahead of the Independence Day celebrations. As per sources, intelligence reports suggest that “militants may attack and may also use drones to drop improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at crowded places”.

The sources said that Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar—venue for main August 5 anniversary event—has also been put under strict surveillance to tackle any suspicious activity.

“As it is the first big celebration of the August 5 anniversary, militants may try to disrupt peace. Intelligence reports also suggest the same. That’s why a number of CCTVs in addition to those already installed at traffic crossings, busy markets and around sensitive installations have been installed and made functional in Srinagar city especially Bakshi stadium area to gear up surveillance and area domination on the eve of August 5,” a police official told Kashmir Observer.

Besides this, the official said, sharp shooters have been deployed on high-rises around the Bakshi Stadium to ensure that these vantage positions and other places are not used by militants to attack common public and VIPs who are attending the function.

Notably, in Srinagar, scores of security personnel, wearing bullet proof vests and holding automatic weapons, were seen stopping and checking vehicles. They’ve also erected checkpoints and installed mobile bunkers to carry out frisking of commuters and pedestrians.

Besides this, additional security deployment was also seen at several areas including Lal Chowk, Jehangir Chowk, Hari Singh High Street, Regal Chowk, Batamaloo and TRC.

“Adequate security arrangements have been made in Srinagar city and other places in the valley to ensure militants are not able to disrupt normalcy. All necessary precautions have been taken. We have plugged in the city to ensure that all the scheduled functions are held normally,” a CRPF official told Kashmir Observer, adding that the night domination has been ensured through the ubiquitous presence of security forces.

All vehicles moving around Bakshi stadium and Lal Chowk are thoroughly checked, he said.

Security forces here have also stepped up their vigil on motorcycles plying in the city ahead of the August 5 anniversary. A special drive has been undertaken by the police and CPRF in many areas in the city. Several two-wheelers have also been reportedly seized since morning.
However, a police official told Kashmir Observer that they were only seizing those motorcycles which did not have proper documents or the “rider’s helmet was missing”.

Pertinently, besides the official celebrations, Bharatiya Janata Party is also organizing individual events in each and every district of J&K to “mark the biggest day in the history of Kashmir”.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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