Mumbai: With inputs that four alleged members of Pakistan-based terror outfit LeT have sneaked into the city to carry out "violent" attacks during New Year celebrations, the metropolis will remain covered under a tight security blanket on Friday.
Vigil has been heightened to avert any terror threat emanating from land, air and water during the celebrations, police said Thursday.
Roads near the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel, one of the sites
of the 26/11 terror attacks near Gateway of India, have been
closed for 15 days from December 23 and the area has been put
under surveillance, police said, adding, parking on the roads
around the Taj has also been prohibited for the same period.
The government has permitted bars and restaurants to
remain open all through the night on December 31 for new year
celebrations in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai but boat parties
along the coast have been banned for the third time in a row
due to the terror threat.
"The state excise department has allowed bars, hotels and
restaurants to remain open till 5 am on January 1, 2011.
Usually, these establishments are shut by 1:30 hours but due
to the New Year celebrations, the norms have been relaxed,"
Joint Police Commissioner (Law and Order) Rajnish Seth said.
"Boat parties along the coastline have been banned as a
precautionary measure in the wake of intelligence inputs.
Earlier also, for two years, the boat parties were not allowed
due to security reasons," Seth added.
Loudspeakers will be allowed to play till midnight in an
open ground, instead of the usual 10 PM deadline.
The hotels which conduct performances in their premises
can also play loudspeakers till midnight, he added.
Additional Police Commissioner Naval Bajaj said, "The
inputs received in the past few days have prompted us to take
unprecedented security measures to pre-empt any terror strikes
during New Year celebrations,".
South Mumbai`s Colaba area, particularly places,
including the Gateway of India, where large crowds are
expected during the festivities, have been kept under
surveillance through high resolution CCTVs, Bajaj said.
According to police, most of the possible terror targets
are in south Mumbai. Security has been strengthened at vital
installations, railway stations, crowded areas, religious
places and consulates.
Barricades would be put up at the Gateway of India to
separate families from single men to avoid eve-teasing, Bajaj
said, adding that five watchtowers would also be installed.
A special Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad would be
deployed near the spot and policemen stationed at the jetties
to frisk persons sailing in boats and check baggage.
The sea-front up to five nautical miles would be guarded
round the clock by police armed with advanced boats and
sophisticated equipment, he said.
Police are also co-ordinating with Navy and Coast Guard
officials who would conduct air surveillance, he said.