As visitors streamed out of the Red Fort premises on Thursday morning, another group of men stood at the gates peeping in with disappointment in their eyes. Dilshad Ali said he had come all the way from Ghaziabad to catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister unfurl the tricolour on the occasion of India’s 73rd Independence Day.
“I had no idea that there would be so much of security around and that I would have to show some pass to get through,” said Ali. Unaware of the security measures taken during Independence Day, he had been stopped from entering the fort premises by the guards stationed outside.
Like Ali, Sachin Sahu from Raipur was also stuck outside the security perimeter, disappointed at losing his chance to catch a glimpse of the Independence Day celebration that he had heard and read so much about. “I had planned my holiday in Delhi in a way that it coincides with the Independence Day. I wanted to see the PM unfurl the national flag, but I was not aware of the fact that one has to get a pass to attend,” said Sahu, a postgraduate student in Physics who reached Delhi on August 11 and has been staying at a hotel.
“This is a common issue we face every year on Independence Day. Many people are not aware of the heavy security arrangements on August 15. We try to explain the whole arrangement to few of them, but there are so many people that we cannot explain everything to each one of them,” an officer from the Defence services stationed at the Red Fort said.
A complex, multi-layered security system comprising the army, paramilitary forces and the Delhi Police is deployed at the Red Fort for the Independence Day celebrations. Visitors are expected to carry a special invitation card or pass along with an identity card in order to be able to enter the fort premises. The Red Fort is closed to visitors for approximately a week before the PM’s address.
When asked if he would come back next year, Sahu said,“Next time I will come as an officer.”
Aug 16, 2019 09:04 IST