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Blasts set off post-Akshardham vigil

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has instructed both the city and state police to stay alert in the wake of Monday’s blasts in Mumbai. He has ordered a strict vigil on vital installations, like railway stations and the airport.

Responding to the directive, police swung into action from Monday afternoon. A security ring has been thrown around the vital and vulnerable spots. An alert has also been flashed to all superior police officers in the districts, and the intelligence branch activated to monitor the mixed-population pockets.

“All five deputy commissioners have been alerted. They will message the police stations. We have intensified our patrols on the city streets,” said Kuldiep Singh, deputy commissioner of police (headquarters).

Vital installations in the city, like Writers’ Buildings, the second Hooghly bridge, consulate and embassy offices and Sealdah station, were brought under strict supervision. “In some of these places, we have set up police pickets. We will keep a close watch on the sensitive areas. Personnel of Radio Flying Squad and High Radio Flying Squad have started making frequent rounds of the streets,” Singh added.

Intelligence branch officials have been directed to keep an eye on areas like Metiabruz, Garden Reach, Kidderpore and Rajabazar. Police are also scanning all the entry and exit points. “Places like the Ultadanga-VIP Road intersection, Park Circus and Gariahat will be manned by policemen through the night,” said a Lalbazar official.

Inspector-general Chayan Mukherjee (law and order) said at Writers’ Buildings that an alert had been relayed all over the state. “All the police stations across the state have been directed to take extra measures. We are trying to provide them with extra forces. Senior officers have been asked to patrol the sensitive areas in North and South 24-Parganas, Hooghly and Asansol and in Burdwan and Nadia districts,” said Mukherjee.

The security arrangements put in place after the Akshardham attack are being repeated, Mukherjee said. “Immediately after the terrorist attack on the temple, we had to take a number of security measures. So, our officers are well aware of what they will have to do under the present circumstances,” he stated.

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