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Security blanket over Delhi

Anti-aircraft guns, snipers, commandos to keep an eye on Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Written by Prawesh Lama | New Delhi |
May 25, 2014 1:57:52 am
Rehearsal on Rajpath on Saturday for Narendra Modi’s swearing-in. (Source: Express photo by Praveen Khanna) Rehearsal on Rajpath on Saturday for Narendra Modi’s swearing-in. (Source: Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Elaborate security arrangements are being made for the swearing-in of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan on Monday evening.

Areas around Rashtrapati Bhawan and India Gate will be fortified with traffic restrictions in place two hours before the ceremony begins.

Security personnel from paramilitary forces like the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Rapid Action Force (RAF) will be deployed around Rashtrapati Bhawan, which will play host to a string of high-profile political leaders, including heads of state of neighbouring countries.

Police said all roads leading to the venue would be barricaded on Monday.Between 4 pm and 8 pm, six roads — Rajpath, Vijay Chowk and its North and South fountain areas, South Avenue Marg, North Avenue Marg, Dalhousie Road and Church Road — will be closed to traffic. While offices in North and South Block will be closed on Monday for the swearing-in, some offices on the top floors would be occupied by security personnel.

“Snipers and commandos will occupy the offices for a bird’s eye view of Rajpath and surrounding areas. There will be spotters from the NSG and Special Cell,” a senior police officer said.For the duration of the swearing-in, the air space above the venue will be declared a no-flying zone with anti-aircraft guns deployed.

Police said a team of riot control personnel and several CRPF companies would be deployed along Rajpath. The Rashtrapati Bhawan has been closed for tours during the weekend in view of the security arrangements. Police have turned down a request by several media houses to erect a stage in the form of a temporary studio near the India Gate lawns during the ceremony. Even journalists who have been issued passes for the swearing-in will be seated more than 500 m away from the main stage.

Assisting the security personnel will be the dog squad of the Crime Branch. “It will be a usual three-tier security system in place. The venue will be secured by the Special Protection Group and Delhi Police. All VIPs and their family members will be escorted in their SUVs by the security unit of police. The CRPF will secure the road leading to the venue. We are also keeping a close watch on Jantar Mantar, from where protesters may try to reach the venue,” a police officer said.

On Saturday, policemen visited several markets in South, Southeast and New Delhi district, asking shopkeepers to be vigilant.

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