Srinagar: Random searches of vehicles and people, part of an annual security measure taken before January 26 celebrations, were intensified across and other major towns of the Valley on Thursday.
Throughout the day, the police and paramilitary soldiers checked private and public vehicles and frisked passengers at busy intersections such as Ganta Ghar, Jehangir Chowk, Budshah Chowk, Maisuma, Hari Singh High Street, SK Park and Dalgate and Tourist Reception Centre.
A police official said people’s movement is being monitored through CCTV cameras installed at various places in the city, while sniffer dogs and bomb disposal squad have also been kept on standby.
Every year, resistance groups call for a strike on January 26, asking people to observe it as a ‘Black Day’. For the past 25 years, a curfew-like situation prevails on the day, as the people not only heed to the strike call but also stay away from roads. Stringent security measures also keep people indoors on the day.
All this to ensure smooth conduct of military parades and cultural programmes held in all district headquarters as part of R-Day celebrations.
Like in the past, the police collected the information about the occupants in the residential houses adjacent to the Bakshi Stadium, where the main R-Day parade is held. Several hotels situated around the main venue are also under scanner.
“This time the security arrangements are harsh. We have been asked to provide daily updates of the visitors staying at our hotel. We have also been asked to furnish the details of the staff,” said the owner of a hotel.
Last year, he said, the cops only enquired about the people who were staying in the hotel on January 26.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (central Kashmir) Syed Afhadul Mujtaba told Kashmir Reader, “We are fully prepared to ensure smooth conduct of celebrations. We are keeping a close watch on potential trouble makers.”
“Documents of vehicles are being checked thoroughly. At the same time we ensure that people don’t face inconvenience.”
Security measures beefed up in border districts
In Baramulla and Sopore, the police and CRPF troopers searched passenger and private vehicles on the Kupwara-Baramulla and Baramulla-Srinagar highway. They were seen conducting searches at Pattan, Veeriwan, Khawajabagh, Janbazpora and other places.
“Night patrolling has also been started in the sensitive areas of Baramulla and Kupwara. Besides, soldiers are also conducting searches in forested areas of the twin districts,” a senior army officer, wishing not to be named, told Kashmir Reader.
(With inputs from Baramulla by Mushtaq Ahmed)