Jammu/Srinagar: Extraordinary security arrangements were put in place on Friday on the eve of the country’s Independence Day and in the aftermath of terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Maulana Azad Stadium in Jammu and the Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar, the venues of the main Independence Day parades and functions in the state, have been taken over by security forces.
Roads around the Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar have been sealed for traffic and pedestrian movement with coils of concertina wire and makeshift drop gates.
Sharp shooters have been deployed on high-rises around the Bakshi Stadium to ensure that these vantage positions are not used by separatist guerrillas to fire rocket propelled grenades towards the parade venue.
Javaid Mujtaba Geelani, inspector general of police (IGP), Kashmir, told reporters in Srinagar that “Adequate security arrangements have been made in Srinagar city and other places in the valley to ensure militants are not able to disrupt normalcy.”
Scores of policemen, wearing bullet proof vests and holding automatic weapons, are stopping and checking all vehicles entering Srinagar city.
Passengers and vehicles are thoroughly checked before being allowed to enter the city.
The makeshift checkposts have made the traffic move at snail’s pace after vehicles enter the city.
“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 to gear up surveillance and area domination on the eve of August 15 this year,” an official told IANS in Srinagar.
Authorities have imposed curfew-like restrictions in the police station areas of Rainwari, Khanyar, Nowhatta,M. R. Gunj, Safa Kadal, Maisuma and Kralkhud.
In Jammu, major security arrangements are in place after many years because of the recent terror attack in Udhampur district of Jammu region in which three people including two Border Security Force (BSF) troopers and a terrorist were killed and 11 BSF troopers injured on August 5.
Danish Rana, IGP, Jammu, told IANS, “All necessary precautions have been taken. We have plugged the borders to ensure that terrorists are prevented from infiltrating into our side of the border.
“Night domination has been ensured through ubiquitous presence of security forces. All vehicles entering the city from adjacent districts are thoroughly checked,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman of the breakaway Hurriyat group, have been placed under house arrest in Srinagar by authorities ahead of August 15.
Separatists have called for a complete shutdown on Saturday.
This year’s extraordinary security arrangements have become necessary as the separatists have carried out a number of attacks in the valley during recent days.
Earlier this week, militants injured three security men including a police officer and two CRPF troopers in addition to a civilian in a grenade attack in the Khanyar area of Srinagar.
Most roads and markets in uptown areas where authorities had not imposed restrictions began emptying of people in the afternoon as commuters, shopkeepers and shoppers preferred to reach home early because of frequent frisking/checking and the resulting tension in the city.