Srinagar: Srinagar city was put on heightened alert on Sunday with a few roads being barricaded, security forces’ installations being highly secured, and searches carried out in residential neighbourhoods after an intelligence input about a militant attack.
The alert was sounded Saturday night and soon after government forces sealed a few roads including the Batamaloo intersection. Police and paramilitary CRPF men were deployed at several road junctions, followed by frisking and checking of cars and two-wheelers in the morning, especially on roads leading to the national highway.
At Bemina, forces’ personnel were deployed in full strength and were seen stopping vehicles and checking them before allowing them to proceed ahead. Also, for a very brief interval in the morning, internet was suspended.
The intelligence reports suggested a possible blast on the highway, which has been barred for civilian traffic twice a week except for emergency cases. Notably, today the highway was only meant for allowing armed forces’ convoys and the intelligence report had asked for strict implementation of the ban order.
The intel report suggested that the attack might be carried out at Batwara and Tattoo ground area in Bemina.
A large contingent of government forces was deployed at the Bemina crossing and troops were seen stopping vehicles for searches. In Srinagar’s downtown areas, a commuter said his car was stopped for a search but public transport buses were allowed to ply without any interruption.
Two-wheelers were especially stopped by policemen and documents of the vehicles as well as the drivers were checked. In residential areas around the highway, strict vigil was maintained to ensure nothing untoward occurs. Razor wires were laid across roads leading to the highway and vehicles were only allowed to move after proper searches and checking.
A police officer said the extraordinary security measures were taken as part of preparations for elections. Almost 750 companies of central security forces have been deputed to the state for election duty.
The latest intel alert comes more than a month after the deadliest-ever suicide bomb attack in Kashmir, on February 14 at Lethpora on the Srinagar-Jammu highway. The attack brought India and Pakistan on the brink of war while in Kashmir a strict crackdown and an arrest spree followed.