January 2018 News

Kashmir Under Thick Security Blanket

25 January 2018
Rising Kashmir
Javid Ahmad

Srinagar: With intelligence inputs warning of militant attacks and suicide bombing, tight security arrangements have been put in place in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley for smooth conduct of January 26 functions. The main January 26 function in Valley would be held at Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium. It is for the first time that the January 26 function would be held at SK cricket stadium. It used to be held at the Bakhshi stadium, which is presently undergoing renovation. A security official said although the SK cricket stadium in Srinagar is believed to be secure venue as the area is surrounded by VVIPs, whose residences remain under constant security cover, but the insubstantial boundary fence of the venue is concern for the forces. The new security plan has already been framed and accordingly the deployment would remain in place for smooth conduct of the function, he said. IG CRPF Srinagar, Ravideep Sahi told Rising Kashmir that as planned, all security arrangements have been put in place. 'Let's hope for smooth conduct of function,' he said. The SK cricket stadium, according to sources, would remain under multiple-layer security cover which includes police, CRPF while army would also be deployed at a distance. They said heavy contingent of forces including sharpshooters have also been deployed at Sulaiman and Shanker Acharaya hills to keep watch on any suspicious movement. 'The army helicopters will also conduct aerial surveillance during the day,' sources said. Sources said security personnel would also be deployed in top floors of some building in the area close to the stadium to maintain round the clock vigil. 'Besides, security men will also be deployed in strength in all other vulnerable areas in view of shutdown and protests called by the separatists,' they said. The bullet-proof vehicles have been placed along footpath stretch from Ram Munish Bagh to Nawa-e-Sub complex. The CCTV cameras have also been installed at different points at the venue to keep eye on suspicious activities. 'The drone cameras will also be used for monitoring the situation,' a police official said. The road from Ram Munshi Bagh to Zero bridge has been sealed and made out of bounds for civilian movement. IG CRPF said much focus would remain on the main venue. 'There will be normal deployment in other areas of Srinagar in view of separatists shutdown call,' he said. A security official said security apparatus has been further beefed up after intelligence inputs warned that an 18-year-old female from Pune, Maharashtra, who is presently in Valley, may carry out suicide bombing near or inside the January 26 parade venue in Kashmir. He said there would be multiple checkpoints from the main gate of SK stadium to the exact venue location. IG CRPF said in view of the alert, three-tier security arrangements would be further strengthened to foil militant attacks. The police and CRPF men have set up temporary checkpoints, where the vehicles and commuters were thoroughly checked. The cops were also conducting thorough searches of vehicles entering the city from other districts. Meanwhile, the authorities this evening snapped the mobile internet services in Kashmir. The internet services on mobile phones and data cards were suspended this evening as part of the security drill of the January 26. Although, it's a normal practice in Kashmir to suspend the internet services on January 26 and August 15, this is the first time that these services were withdrawn a day earlier.