The Delhi Police is using cameras equipped with facial recognition software for the first time to secure the area in and around the Red Fort, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hoist the Tricolour to mark the 73rd Independence Day celebrations. Delhi Police in concert with the security agencies, have taken several measures and the entire security apparatus has been put on maximum alert and nothing is being left to chance.
"Security agencies have taken measures to cover all possible space from ground to the sky. Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets will be on alert to fly at a short notice of two minutes in the event of an emergency, a senior Delhi Police officer said on Sunday. New Delhi, Central Delhi and North Delhi have been declared no-fly zones and radars have been stationed at key places to keep an eye on any Unidentified Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Especially trained 'kite catchers' have been roped in to keep an eye on any suspicious kites flying in the vicinity of the Red Fort. Anti-Aircraft guns will be ready to fire in case any intrusion is noticed in the sky", said a senior police official on the condition of anonymity.
The level of security for the Independence Day celebrations could be judged from the fact that Delhi Police has conducted a survey of all drains that pass through Central and North Delhi. Police have put stickers on every drain to ensure that all entry points are sealed. Every hotel and guest house has been put under surveillance and spotters have fanned out across the city to keep an eye on any suspicious movement. Market associations and municipal bodies have been told to cover every dustbin as there are intelligence reports that terror groups could use the same for launching an attack.
A multi-layered security arrangement, involving Special Weapon And Tactic (SWAT) commandos and National Security Guards (NSG) snipers, is being put in place for the national capital in view of the Centre scrapping the constitutional provisions that gave Jammu and Kashmir a special status and tensions with Pakistan.
Men and officers drawn from the Indian Army, Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and over 20,000 Delhi Police personnel have also been deployed to man the security when the Prime Minister unfurls the tricolor and addressed the nation from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort. T o identify suspects around the historic Red Fort, police is using cameras with facial recognition technology and has deployed anti-drone detection systems to secure the skies.
Around 500 CCTV cameras have been installed around the venue, where ministers, bureaucrats, foreign dignitaries and common people will gather to hear the prime minister.
The roads leading to the Red Fort are under surveillance and police personnel are taking help of trained sniffer dogs to check vehicles in north and central districts of Delhi.
To ensure public convenience during mobility, optimal staff deployment and proper signage installation had been planned. Special squads on motorcycles are deployed.
Security protocols have also been devised for the "At Home" function at Rashtrapati Bhavan. At both these places, visitors will have to pass through several door-framed metal detectors and they will be frisked with hand-held metal detectors. Baggages canners have already been placed at all entry points at the Red Fort venue.
Special "spotters" are keeping an eye on parking areas and kite catchers will ensure a distraction-free event on Thursday.
"We have made an
extensive security arrangement for those coming to the Red Fort. Drills have been rehearsed," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Nupur Prasad.
Special control rooms will monitor alerts and coordinate with security agencies, Prasad added.
Officials said Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) units and specially-equipped Parakram vans are being stationed at crucial junctions. Police personnel are regularly conducting anti-sabotage drills and making enquiries at hotels for possible suspects lodging there.
Police have prohibited aerial activities, including paragliding, hot-air balloons and quadcopters, until August 15 around the Red Fort. Any person violating the order will be liable for criminal prosecution, they said.
The Delhi Metro has not announced any change in its services on August 15, but there will be restrictions on entry and exit at some stations on the Violet Line. Parking areas, however, have been closed until 2pm on August 15.