The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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City on R-Day security alert

A tight security ring has been thrown around the city on the occasion of Republic Day.

All the entry and exit points of the city have already been put under scanner and policemen instructed to keep a strict vigil from Saturday night. The vital installations in the city have been marked and securitymen have taken their positions there from Friday night.

“This year, we have made foolproof security arrangements in the wake of rising terrorist activities in and around the state. There is a general threat alert from the intelligence branch also,” said Shivaji Ghosh, deputy commissioner of police, headquarters.

Officials said on Saturday that nearly 9,000 policemen will be deployed in areas close to the Brigade Parade Ground, in front of Fort William.

“We will not allow anyone to enter the zone without a thorough check. Besides, specialised units armed with sophisticated weapons will be deployed at vantage points. Commandos have been put on alert as well,” Ghosh added. Last year, altogether 7,000 policemen were deployed in the city.

According to the deputy commissioner, in previous years, policemen were deployed only to control the crowd. “But this year, the concept has undergone a sea-change in the backdrop of terrorist attacks across the world,” he observed.

Policemen have already been deployed in front of all vital installations like Raj Bhavan, Writers’ Buildings, the Assembly, Victoria Memorial, All India Radio and the Second Hooghly bridge, two days before the Republic Day.

“Policemen have been given night-vision binoculars,” said a police officer.

Security arrangements have been tightened after a “red alert” was sounded at the Calcutta airport for Sunday, a Central Industrial Security Force spokesperson said.

A close watch would be kept on all vehicles and passengers, he added.

Meanwhile, the detective department arrested three more persons who had allegedly sprayed pellets on a Radio Flying Squad (RFS) jeep on Thursday morning before speeding away. The sleuths netted the mastermind of the gang, Md. Idris, on Friday during a raid in Akra, South 24-Parganas.

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