New Delhi: Multilayered security arrangements and a mandatory adherence to social distancing norms are in place for the 74th Independence Day celebrations at the Mughal-era Red Fort this year.
A security ring, including NSG snipers, elite SWAT commandos and kite catchers, will be placed around the Red Fort from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation.
“The Delhi Police has made multilayered arrangements in connection with the Independence Day celebrations. Necessary coordination has been made with other agencies like the NSG, SPG and ITBP.
“All the agencies will work in close coordination with each other to cater to all kinds of threat inputs. SWAT teams and ‘Parakram’ vans have been strategically stationed,” Anil Mittal, Additional PRO Delhi Police, said.
There will be heavy security deployment along the route taken by the Prime Minister to reach Red Fort. Over 300 cameras have been installed for security and their footage is being monitored round-the-clock, police said.
There will be around 4,000 security personnel at the Red Fort and they will stand in adherence with social distancing norms, they said.
Meanwhile, medical booths have been set up at various locations–one booth near the rampart, one at Madhavdas Park and two booths at 15 August Park–to cater to any attendee with symptoms related to COVID-19 during the entry. Ambulances would also be stationed at these locations.
Thermal screening at all entry points for the invitees has been planned. A thorough sanitisation of the premises inside and outside the Red Fort is being carried out on a regular basis, officials said.
All invitees have been requested to wear protective masks. An adequate number of masks are also being kept handy for distribution at various points of venue. Similarly, availability of hand sanitisers at pre-defined locations has been done, they said.
The security in and around railways stations has also been intensified.
“Security personnel have been deployed at railways stations and along the tracks. There will be no movement of trains from 6.45 am to 8.45 am on Independence Day on particular tracks near the Red Fort due to VVIP movement,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Railways) Harendra Kumar Singh had said.
The guest list also has been pruned and about 4,000 plus invites have been issued to officials, diplomats, members of public and media.
The Delhi Police has also advised the invitees to refrain from attending the event if they experienced any COVID-19 symptom in the last two weeks and did not go for a test. Social distancing will be maintained between any two guests seated during the event.
The security personnel involved in frisking the invitees would be donning personal protective equipement (PPE) kits, a Delhi Police official said.
Over 350 Delhi Police personnel, who will be part of the guard of honour, have been quarantined as a precautionary measure. These personnel of the force of all ranks — from constable to deputy commissioner of police — have been quarantined at a newly built police colony in Delhi Cantonment, police said.
Police personnel have also been asked to keep an eye on the sky to ensure that no stray kites are seen in the areas around the Red Fort. Police have also been carrying out anti-sabotage checks, visiting hotels in the vicinity in search of suspicious elements, they had said.
“Deployment of security personnel is being made both in plainclothes and uniform. Facial Recognition System has also been set up at vantage points for suspect identification. All the necessary guidelines in view of the COVID-19 pandemic will be enforced,” Mittal said.
The Delhi Traffic Police had also issued an advisory for the Independence Day function to ensure safe and smooth flow of vehicles across the city.
Eight roads — Netaji Subhash Marg, Lothian Road, SP Mukherjee Marg, Chandni Chowk Road, Nishad Raj Marg, Esplanade Road and its Link Road to Netaji Subhash Marg, Ring Road from Rajghat to ISBT and Outer Ring Road from ISBT to IP flyover — will be closed for general public from 4 am to 10 am.
“Apart from securing the main venue at the Red Fort, adequate security arrangements for ‘At Home’ function at Rashtrapati Bhawan have also been made. A city-wide alert is being exercised by all district deputy commissioners of police,” Mittal said.
Flying of sub-conventional aerial platforms like para-gliders, para-motors, hang gliders, UAVs, micro light aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft, hot air balloons, small size powered aircraft, quadcopters or activities like para-jumping from aircraft, among others, are prohibited over the jurisdiction of the national capital up to August 15, police had said.
The Red Fort has already been closed for public ahead of the Independence Day celebrations.