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Republic Day 2017: Security forces on high alert in Delhi and UP border

Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel will be keeping a tight vigil on Republic Day in the national capital tomorrow with an eye on the movement of animals in view of intelligence inputs that terror groups might use them as suicide bombers. Delhi Police was sent a special advisory today informing them that terror groups might use animals to target crowded areas like important installations, railway stations, etc, to create a panic situation.

While the Delhi Police was earlier issued an advisory stating that terror groups might use new techniques, today they received a special advisory warning of this kind of an attack. The advisory has been issued by Special Cell of Delhi Police and has asked personnel to keep a track of stolen pets since terror groups might have stolen them to carry out terror strikes. Special arrangements have been made at the historic Rajpath where President Pranab Mukherjee, who is the supreme commander of armed forces, will be witnessing nation’s military might that will be on display.

The entire Central and New Delhi region will have nearly 60,000 security personnel drawn from Delhi Police and Central security forces guarding every nook and corner. Muksh Kumar Meena, special commissioner of police, New Delhi range said, “There is foolproof security in place. Senior officers of Delhi Police will be patrolling the area while borders have been sealed.”

In view of recent intelligence inputs that terror groups like LeT might be planning to use helicopter charter services and charter flights to launch attack through air, Delhi Police along with other security agencies are keeping a tight vigil. Police is using counter-drone technology to thwart any attack or identify any suspicious flying object, a senior police officer said.

Apart from this, security personnel will be stationed atop tall buildings with anti-aircraft guns. CCTV cameras have been installed and a special control room has been set up where the feed will be monitored by Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel, the officer said.

The advisory that has been issued to security agencies states that “it is imperative for the security forces to be familiar with the range of threats for devising appropriate counter means” since the use of conventional weapons by the terrorist and criminal groups is a part of an ongoing process to develop new techniques and tactics. Security forces have also been asked to ensure that proper frisking and checking of police personnel and other personnel is carried out since there is a possibility that terrorists may disguise themselves as security personnel.

Security has been beefed up at railway and metro stations here while vigil is being maintained along the Uttar Pradesh-Delhi border ahead of the 68th Republic Day celebrations. Heavy vehicles will not be allowed to cross the border from midnight while others going to and coming from Delhi will be thoroughly checked, police said. Assistant Superintendent of Police Anoop Kumar said police check-posts and bunkers have been erected at four places on the Delhi-UP border for checking of vehicles. Besides, he said hotels in the vicinity have been randomly checked and identity of the guests there have also been verified.

Parkings at Vaishali and Kaushambi metro stations, which were closed today at 2 PM, will open after culmination of Republic Day parade , Kumar said. Police teams patrolling roads have been instructed to keep a hawk’s eye on suspicious movement of any vehicle with blue or red beacon, the ASP added.

In view of the Republic Day celebrations, BSF is maintaining the “highest level” of alert on the Pakistan border in Jammu and Punjab while repeated attempts are being made from across the frontier to push in terrorists, the chief of the force K K Sharma said. Sharma, who visited forward posts along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Samba sectors in the day, said “there were reports of some sightings across (of militants planning to infiltrate from Pakistan)” but that could not be verified. “But attempts are being made to do so. And we are there on the borders to foil them,” he told reporters here.

On the issue of threat along IB, he said like every year, this year there is a big threat. “The highest level of the alert has been maintained along the borderline in Punjab and Jammu frontiers. On the occasions of January 26 and August 15, highest alert is being maintained,” Sharma said.

“Attempts are being repeatedly made from the other side. But we are ready and alert. We will not allow them to succeed in Jammu and Punjab frontiers,” he said. Asked whether militants are getting help from Pakistan’s paramilitary force Rangers, he said they are getting support from state machinery across. We believe they are getting State support. Launching pads and training camps are intact,” he said.

“Attempts to push in militants have been made in the past. But we are alert. We are in a position to deal with anything,” the BSF chief said.

He said all the attempts of infiltration have been foiled in Punjab and Jammu frontiers during last year. “The last such incident was when we killed three militants who infiltrated to this side via a tunnel in Samba,” he said.

Asserting that more use of technology would be made in the border guarding, Sharma said latest gadgets and equipment are being inducted in BSF which, besides acting as force multiplier for better and more effective domination, will also provide relief to the jawans by way of reducing his workload.

“For this GOI is fully behind us. We are in the process of running a pilot project in this regard. We are going to try out latest technology and latest equipment available in the world,” he said.

“On the issue of laser wall along IB, it is part of the pilot project aimed to increase the technological use for border guarding,” he added.

On the ditch-cum-bandh proposal, he said that it has been put on hold.