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As protesters settle in, so do cops — with heaters, coffee

A senior police officer said the 4,000 include paramilitary personnel who are performing their duties round the clock, stationed alongside several senior officers.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral , Sakshi Dayal | New Delhi | Updated: December 17, 2020 2:27:31 pm
“There are proper arrangements of fire and nearby fire stations have been already directed to be on standby,” said Director of Delhi Fire Services, Atul Garg, on the preparedness at Singhu.

From taking a two-hour break during night duty to installing gas heaters, coffee machines, and large tents — several steps are being taken by the Delhi Police to keep their 4,000 police personnel, deployed at Singhu and Tikri borders, warm. The officers have the task of ensuring thousands of protesting farmers don’t enter the national capital. And with thousands of blankets kept in heaps and fires running night and day to keep the protesters warm, authorities say they have deployed fire tenders and kept water cannons handy in case of an emergency.

A senior police officer said the 4,000 include paramilitary personnel who are performing their duties round the clock, stationed alongside several senior officers. “We have made proper security layers and also installed fire tenders and water cannons to avoid any fire-related incident,” Additional DCP Jitendra Meena told The Indian Express.

“There are proper arrangements of fire and nearby fire stations have been already directed to be on standby,” said Director of Delhi Fire Services, Atul Garg, on the preparedness at Singhu.

As the winter chill grips the region, senior officers have installed gas heaters and coffee machines at both protest sites for their personnel. “At Tikri border, police personnel have been asked to take a two-hour break at night. Usually, from this exercise, 30 percent of police personnel get rest at a time. We have also installed large tents and coordinated with the administration of a nearby school for the stay of our police personnel during the night in the coming days,” a senior police officer said.

On the large containers kept at Singhu border to keep farmers away from the capital, a senior officer said they got them on rent from a private company.

In Jhajjar, police officers said “sufficient deployment” of personnel has been consistently ensured over the last few weeks to ensure law and order is maintained. “Sufficient forces have been stationed at Tikri border ever since the protest began, with personnel working in shifts round the clock to ensure law and order is maintained,” said an official from Jhajjar Police.

Although The Indian Express contacted multiple senior officials to procure exact figures related to deployment in the area, they refused to share the details. Superintendent of Police (SP) Rajesh Duggal did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment.

Here, too, arrangements have been made by the fire department to ensure quick response in case of any blaze. “Two fire tenders have been placed on standby at the border, and three others are continuously visiting the site to monitor the situation and also supply water for utilities of protesters. We have placed tanks at regular intervals with buckets, which can be used in case of any emergency… In addition, two fire bikes have also been deputed at the border to ensure the response time is reduced if there is any incident because the bigger vehicles may take time to manoeuvre through the crowd,” said Nitish Bharadwaj, Fire Officer of Jhajjar.

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