Srinagar, Jan 21: Ahead of Republic Day, security forces have taken over the Shar-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium, where main January 26 celebration would be held in Kashmir with police seeking details about people staying in hotels and guest houses in its surrounding areas.
For the first time, the main January 26 celebrations in Kashmir would be held at SK Cricket Stadium Sonawar instead at traditional venue Bakshi Stadium.
In view of change in venue, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir has directed the police department and other security agencies to ensure “adequate and fool proof security” arrangements in and around the venue.
“In Srinagar security should be tightened more than before owing to change of venue this time around,” an official said. The police department has been directed to make a “comprehensive” security plan. Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium, the venue for main R-Day function in the valley has turned into a fortress by the security forces.
To ensure disturbance free celebrations, police have been seeking details from the hoteliers and guest house owners about the people staying in them.
“The adjoining areas of the venue Sonawar, Dalgate and Rajbagh will remain under tight surveillance of security forces. We have been receiving the personal details about the people staying in hotels and guest houses in these areas,” a senior police official told KNS.
He said the police and intelligence agencies have been directed to keep an eye on suspected persons in these areas. “The security agencies don’t want to take any chances of lapses with the security and every suspected movement is being scrutinized by CCTV cameras installed around the venue,” he said.
Residents of Sonawar said police and other security forces have intensified their patrolling in the area for the last one week. “The security forces keep patrolling lanes and by-lanes during the night hours to keep eye on any suspected movement,” they said.
Hundreds of security forces personnel – armed with metal detectors have been deployed in and around the stadium. Multiple checking points have been set up across Srinagar with security forces checking identity proof from the people entering into the city.
Sources said the security personnel will also be stationing on the buildings around the venue. “Buildings near the venue have been checked by the security forces and sniffer dogs have been deployed in and around it,” the official said.
It has been decided to utilise three Pawan Hans helicopters for flower showing and to keep surveillance on the venue.
The official said that road from Radio Kashmir to Sonawar road may remain closed for few days before the January 26. “This will be more a challenging job for the security agencies as the venue falls near business hub Lal Chowk. The police department has been directed to make a comprehensive security plan,” the official said.
The DIG Armed has been directed to coordinate the preparation and supervise of the parade. While SSP Security has been directed to ensure “adequate” security on all fronts. (KNS)