The new venue for R-day function in Kashmir made J&K police sketch a new security plan, involving a lot of thinking and manpower, to ensure "no loophole is left."
It took police nearly a month to sanitize the new venue—S K Stadium at Sonwar as they were not knowing of the "possible drawbacks" of the place, which otherwise is believed to be highly secure.
This was revealed by the additional director general of police (ADGP) Muneer Khan.
"As far the traditional venue Bakshi Stadium is concerned, there were set positions for the policemen and other forces' personnel, which they would reach and stand guard to," Khan told Greater Kashmir.
"We also knew the areas and points where there was need of less security deployment and points where there was a need for more deployment."
Khan, who continues to be the Kashmir range inspector general of police, said in case of Bakshi Stadium, the police also knew the buildings to be sanitized and places where sharpshooters were supposed to be deployed.
"The new venue threw up some challenges for us which include identifying the buildings and points for the nature of deployment. Also, we had to conduct survey of the SK Stadium to identify possible loopholes and ensure they are plugged," he said.
The Kashmir police chief accepted that "it involved lot of thinking and use of manpower" to sketch new security plan for the new venue. "I won't say it was a difficult job, but yes, it involved lot of exercise both mentally and manually," he said.
A source, privy to the new security plan, revealed that insubstantial boundary fencing of the SK venue was also a concern for the police. "And it was decided to set up bullet-proof bunkers on the footpath stretch from Ram Munish Bagh to the point leading to Nawa-e-Sub complex. These bunkers would remain active round the clock from January 23 onwards," the source said.
"It was also decided to close the road stretch from Ram Munshi Bagh to Zero Bridge for all sorts of vehicular traffic from 24 January onwards and divert the traffic from Dalgate route."
The source revealed that the SK Stadium will remain under multi-layer security cover of police, paramilitary CRPF and the army as well. "To keep close vigil on the venue, army helicopters may carry some rounds of aerial search of the venue and adjoining areas that include the nearby Sulaiman hillock as well," he said. "Plus, mock drills will also be conducted besides a routine rehearsal on January 24 or 25 wherein divisional commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan would take the salute of the parade."
It may be recalled that it is for the first time that R-day function would be held at S K Stadium as the traditional venue, Bakshi Stadium is undergoing renovation.
On the stepped up vigil and the frisking operations, the Kashmir police chief said that it was need of the hour to keep militants at bay.
"We saw some grenade hurling incidents in Pulwama and Pampore. This shows that due to tough security measures, militants are finding it difficult to strike in a big way. So we urge people to cooperate with us," he said. Kashmir is already under a thick security blanket many days ahead of the January 26.
Meanwhile, divisional commissioner of Kashmir, Baseer Ahmed Khan inspected the full dress rehearsal parade at the SK Stadium. Talking to reporters here, he said: "All preparations are in place. It was a full dress rehearsal today, the real parade will be more colourful."