Elaborate security arrangements were in place across the country for the Republic Day celebrations on Tuesday with police in the national capital and neighbouring states keeping an eye out on “drones”, which have been perceived as a major threat.
The national capital is already on high alert ahead of the official celebrations -- where French President Francois Hollande is the chief guest -- after inputs were received about the presence of key members of several terror outfits in Delhi.
In the national capital, as many as 71 high-rise buildings in the vicinity of Rajpath will be shut down either partially or completely on Tuesday in view of the Republic Day parade.
Delhi Police Chief B S Bassi had asked his force and police departments of the neighbouring states to keep a vigilant eye on drones, as they have been perceived as a major threat to security, according to a senior police official.
The matter attained priority after a UAV was spotted near IGIAirport around three months ago but its source or handler could not be tracked by the police, following which Delhi Police announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh last month for any information about it.
State capitals and major cities across the country have seen security being beefed up at vulnerable places and key installations.
In Punjab, which was recently shaken by the strike at the Pathankot air force base, additional personnel have been posted at bus stands, railway stations and government buildings, officials said.
Similar arrangements are in place in Haryana and Chandigarh. Both states and Chandigarh are on high alert following the terror attack at Pathankot.
In Jammu and Kashmir, security has been stepped up across the Valley to thwart any plan by militants to disrupt the celebrations.
Police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force personnel have been deployed in Srinagar and at entry points to the summer capital of the state, police said, adding that barricades have been erected for carrying out random searches of vehicles entering the city.
Police personnel have been carrying out area domination exercises in the areas around Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar, where the Valley’s main parade will be held on Tuesday, and around the venues at district headquarters, they said.
All check-posts along the inter-state borders of Punjab and Haryana have been put on maximum alert, officials said.
Dog and bomb squads have been deployed at vulnerable spots across the two states.
In Kolkata, security has been increased at Victoria Memorial, Kalighat temple, Indian Museum and other iconic structures as well as at buildings housing government and non-governmental offices, shopping malls, etc.
“Security has been increased at entry and exit points to the city. There will be 93 police pickets all over Kolkata and 13 QRTs at strategic locations for fast response,” an officer said.
Leaves of all senior officers have been “cancelled” and they would be on duty during this period and would continue till this weekend, he added.
The National Investigation Agency and other central security agencies arrested 14 persons last week for allegedly planning to carry out attacks in the country ahead of Republic Day.
The arrests were made following simultaneous searches and raids at 12 locations in six cities -- Bengaluru, Tumkur, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Lucknow -- on January 22 with the support of local police.
Image: Security personnel keep watch at Rajpath ahead of the Republic Day parade. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/PTI