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Three-tier reinforced walls and an escape route for Mufti's residence

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | September 20, 2003 22:42 IST

Having chosen to occupy a more plebian house in the middle of Kashmir's busiest business centre, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed is making his security managers sweat it out to secure it from a possible terrorist strike.

Overnight massive iron-gates have come up on the road outside the main entrance to the Mufti's residence.

Also see: More reports from Jammu and Kashmir | More news reports

Inside, there is massive construction activity on to fortify the house against any attack by terrorists.

"Three-tier doubly re-enforced walls are being laid all around the lush green lawns of the chief minister's residence," said an official overseeing the construction work.

The pedestrian mall outside the CM's residence has been blocked to make space available for the construction of "concrete security barricades and the outer wall."

There is also talk of an emergency escape route being under construction.

"That is nothing out of ordinary. The type of attacks the militants have been carrying out have given us an insight into the type of responses we must make. It is normal reaction to ensure the chief minister's safety and we are not trying to keep anything a guarded secret," said the officer.

All these rather extraordinary safety measures became unavoidable after Sayeed brushed aside polite requests and indirect suggestions that his choice of residence needed a reconsideration.

Former chief minister and National Conference leader Dr Farooq Abdullah lived at his private residence on the Gupkar Road, at a safe distance from all the commercial and public activity in the capital.

Sayeed instead moved out of the safety cocoon.
His government spent over Rs 2 crore to renovate the house of his choice. A equal may have to be spent now to reinforce it.


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