Srinagar: Scores of government forces were deployed in and around Srinagar to prevent militant attack ahead of August 15. Heavy deployment of security personnel in and around Srinagar has visibly increased, and barricades and security check posts have been set up at several points.
Commuters coming to the summer capital complained of being frisked and searched by government forces.
Police in large numbers were seen frisking passengers near the civil secretariat here as vehicles were stopped and searched.
A commuter from Tangmarg said that a huge number of policemen were deployed at Parimpora-Qamarwari near Fairdeal Motors on the Srinagar-Muzafarabad highway. “The cops stopped many vehicles and checked the passengers’ identity cards,” he said, wishing for anonymity.
“The highway was almost blocked as the vehicles were positioned on the main road,” he added.
In Batamaloo area, a large number of cops were seen stopping vehicles near Pinchi Mandi from the early morning and verifying the identity of commuters.
People from Lal Bazaar said the police was checking vehicles near Mill Stop.
A police officer posted in Srinagar said forces have taken several measures to foil any militant attack ahead of the August 15. .
“Frisking and search operations will intensify from Saturday,” he said.
A high alert has been sounded across the Valley, while tight security arrangements have been made in and around Bakhshi stadium.
The main function on August 15 will be held in Bakhshi stadium where Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti will take the salute from march-past contingents. Various functions will also be held at district headquarters across J&K.
The security establishment has also deployed sharp shooters on top of various buildings in different areas around Bakhshi stadium to avert any untoward incident.
The police official revealed that at least eight to ten cordon-and-search operations were being conducted across Srinagar on a daily basis.
The police were joined by paramilitary CRPF personnel in the city while, in the periphery, army soldiers also stationed their vehicles on highways and were seen on alert.
“It is a normal feature to beef up security on the eve of the August 15 and January 26 occasions,” said Rajesh Yadav, the CRPF spokesperson. “These steps are taken for safety.”
He, however, claimed that “no new orders (in this regard) were issued”.
In north Kashmir, government forces have installed mobile check posts on Uri, Srinagar, Kupwara, Sopore and Bandipora roads for the past few days and are asking for identity cards and checking all private and state-run vehicles. At some places, people are being asked to alight from their vehicles and are allowed to go only after a thorough check-up of their vehicle and identity cards, including the vehicle’s registration number. Some youths are asked to report to the nearest police station.
Motorcyclists are asked to open their helmets while being checked. A senior Kupwara police officer said that five militants were recently killed along the Line of Control, and forces believe some may cross the forests and try to go to the Valley’s urban areas. He said an alert had been sounded across the state, but north Kashmir was most important because it held so many routes from which militants could enter Srinagar and other major cities of state.
Police sources said higher authorities have asked them to check all private and state-run vehicles from Uri, Kupwara, Sopore and Baramulla areas because they have intelligence that militants may try to attack government functions on the day. “To avoid any untoward incident, the government has ordered us to be alert,” said a police source.
Two days ago, the Director General of the CRPF, RR Batnagar, told media persons in Baramulla that the CRPF and other forces were ready to handle any and every situation whether on 15 August or any other day. “Our troops are ready to tackle every situation,” he said.
Speaking to Kashmir Reader, Kashmir police chief Munir Ahmad Khan said that an additional cause for the beefed-up security was that “other things… need to be taken care of.
“We will take steps (for safety)… necessary measures will be taken for August 15 occasion, but after a few days,” he said.
“There are other things too which need to be taken care of,” Khan said, without sharing further details.