Security beefed up in Delhi ahead of Independence Day

A multi-tier security cover has been put in place in the national capital with thousands of security personnel guarding vital installations.

New Delhi: A multi-tier security cover has been put in place in the national capital with thousands of security personnel guarding vital installations and specialised units like NSG deployed ahead of Independence Day to pre-empt any terror strike.

Security personnel from Delhi Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in and around the city, especially near the Red Fort from where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will unfurl the tricolour and address the nation.

Hundreds of CCTVs have been installed in and around Red Fort with sharpshooters from NSG deployed on high-rises near the 17th century Mughal monument, officials said.

Central security agencies last week had given inputs to police that Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba may try to target markets or places of strategic importance in the city.

In view of the threat, security personnel have been deployed at the airport and at market places, railway stations, inter-state bus terminals and metro stations. Security has been further beefed up in the New Delhi area.

"We are maintaining a high vigil ahead of Independence Day celebrations. We are all alert," said a senior police official.

He said barricading and checking has been intensified within the city and at the borders. Joint checking of vehicles is being carried out by police forces of Delhi along with Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad and Gurgaon at the inter-state borders.

At least 80 companies of security forces (around 6,000 personnel), along with other security personnel in plain clothes, have been deployed at Red Fort and in its vicinity, said a senior police official.

High-level meetings are going on in which security agencies are constantly reviewing arrangements at Red Fort and have zeroed in on `safe houses` where the PM and other leaders may be taken to in case of a terror strike, he said.

The localities around Red Fort have been sanitised and informers have been deployed to keep a close check.

No cameras, binoculars, handbags, briefcases, transistors, cigarette lighters, tiffin boxes, mobile phones, water bottles, lunch boxes, etc. Will be permitted at Red Fort, police said.

Meanwhile, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which guards the Delhi Metro, is carrying out extensive passenger checks at all stations. Long queues were visible at most metro stations what with the passengers being subjected to thorough frisking.

Delhi Metro`s parking lots will remain closed for 24 hours beginning at 2 PM on August 14 in view of security restrictions for Independence Day. However, metro train services will not be affected, police said.

Police have asked operators of guest houses, cyber cafes, telephone booths and taxi services to keep a watch on their customers and report any suspicious persons.

Owners of guest houses and hotels have been advised against letting guests use the hotel`s address for getting mobile phone connections, they said.

"Members of the public are requested not to touch any suspicious objects. They are requested to immediately report the presence of any unidentified/suspicious object, suspicious movement of individuals and vehicles, or anything out of the ordinary, to the nearest policeman," a senior police official said.