Red Fort ready for Modi's maiden I-Day speech
A massive ground-to-air security apparatus has been put in place in the national capital, especially at Red Fort and surrounding areas where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unfurl the national flag and deliver his maiden Independence Day address to the nation on Friday.
Given the security threat to the Prime Minister from several terrorist outfits, the security arrangements have been further scaled up this time.
Around 10,000 security personnel from the Delhi Police and paramilitary forces will keep a hawk-eyed vigil to thwart any possible threats.
Besides around 5,000 personnel from the local police, those from the Special Cell and Security wing of the Delhi Police will also be pressed into service for security arrangements while the traffic police will take care of smooth vehicular movement.
"A fool-proof security plan is in place and we are prepared for any eventuality. People from the general public are requested to cooperate," said a senior Delhi Police official.
Sharpshooters of NSG and spotters will be deployed on the high-rises near the 17th century Mughal fort, officials said.
Specialised units like Quick Reaction Teams, bomb squad, dog squad, SWAT and Vajra will be deployed along with the commando units of Delhi Police at strategic locations, police said.
Besides the patrolling of the skies by helicopters, an air defence mechanism will be put in place around the venue.
Heightened security will also be in place along the route to be taken by the Prime Minister's cavalcade and around Rajghat, where he will lay a wreath at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi early morning.
Police have also installed around 200 closed circuit television cameras in the vicinity of the Red Fort while about 500 have been installed on all routes leading to the venue.
A central control room has been set up at the Red Fort where senior officials will constantly monitor the situation.
Additional manpower from CISF and Delhi Police have been deployed at important public facilities like Delhi Metro and IGI Airport in addition to crowded areas like market places, railway stations, inter-state bus terminals and other establishments of strategic importance.
Parking facilities at Delhi Metro stations have been closed from 6 am and will only open at 2pm on Friday.
"Barricades and checking has been intensified within the city and at the borders. Special checking of all vehicles, both private and commercial, entering Delhi from neighbouring states through border entry points is being carried out," the official said.
With arrangements been made to seat around 10,000 people from the general public, workload for security agencies has further increased this time.
Security agencies are constantly reviewing arrangements at Red Fort and have zeroed in on the 'safe houses' where the Prime Minister and other leaders could be taken in case the need for the same arises, officials said.
Visitors will not be allowed to carry mobile phones, cameras, binoculars, handbags, briefcases, cigarette lighters, transistors, lunch boxes, water bottles, lunch boxes, etc., to the venue and would be subjected to heavy security checks.
Photographs: Getty Images