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J&K: Increased security for August 15

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | August 11, 2005 20:27 IST

Security beef-up and increasing search and cordon operations on the eve of Independence Day are adding to the tension in the lives of the locals even though living under heightened tensions is not something new for the residents of Srinagar.

State police and security forces are sweating it out in the open to ensure that the official functions marking Independence Day pass without a hiccup.

But recent deadly attacks by militants are weighing heavily on the minds of security managers who are still trying to identify any loose ends in the elaborate arrangements in place for August 15.

Taking no chances, security forces have mounted an extraordinary vigil putting up drop gates, erecting spiked barricades on roads used for VIP movement, conducting sudden cordon and search operations and hauling up vehicles for thorough checking beside frisking of passengers at scores of places in the Valley.

All this is part of the security arrangements made in Srinagar to thwart any possible militant attacks coinciding with Independence Day.

"Militants have traditionally been sharpening their attack capabilities around Independence Day," said a police officer in Srinagar.

Authorities are keeping their fingers crossed even when they refuse to accept that there are any specific intelligence inputs about militants planning something big around August 15, 2005.

"There are no specific intelligence inputs that would suggest any specific militant plans to disrupt the various functions planned for August 15. We have made elaborate security arrangements and the alertness in Kashmir these days is part of our efforts to increase vigilance," said Javaid Ahmed Mukhdoomi, inspector general of police, (Kashmir zone).

Some deadly militant attacks have taken place in the Valley during the last one month including a massive car bomb explosion in the high security Sonawar area of Srinagar on July 21 and a suicide militant strike in Lal Chowk on July 29.
It is customary for Kashmir to witness heightened tensions around August 15 with the local administration spending sleepless nights to ensure that all official functions connected with August 15 pass off peacefully.

"Even a big fire-cracker becomes news in Kashmir around August 15 and that is why we have to ensure that everything passes off peacefully," said the police officer on condition of anonymity.

It is important to recall that after the Lal Chowk attack, there has been a remarkable decline in the number of tourists visiting Kashmir as also the pilgrims bound for the holy cave shrine of Amarnath.


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