The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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This Puja, the cops will be out in force

In light of growing terrorist activity in various parts of Bengal, the police have decided to throw a security ring around the city this Puja. With the deployment of 17,000 policemen on the streets, the force has chalked out plans for a peaceful festival.

“After the American Center attack, we have clamped down on every sort of carelessness. We have beefed up security arrangements and decided to deploy another 2,000 policemen over and above last year’s figure,” said Kuldiep Singh, deputy commissioner of police (headquarters).

This year, policemen will hit the roads from Panchami (Tuesday). Adequate personnel will be deployed at major puja pandals and intersections, like Mohammad Ali Park, College Square, Telengabagan and the Gariahat crossing.

“Our full strength will be deployed from Shasthi to Navami. The policemen will be on the roads from 4 pm and will follow the instructions given by five officers of deputy commissioner rank, who will be present at the Lalbazar control room round-the-clock,” added Singh.

As part of this security arrangement, interception teams will be deployed at 15 key pockets covering every entry and exit point of the city.

“These teams will block the entry and exit points and carry out extensive raids to track down the culprits,” explained deputy commissioner Singh.

Personnel of the Radio Flying Squad (RFS) and the Heavy Radio Flying Squad (HRFS) will patrol the city roads. “There will be 50 vans from these two units that will make the rounds during peak hours between 4 pm and 4 am,” he added.

This year, both the RFS and HRFS units will be given sophisticated arms. “The personnel will be armed with self-loading rifles and carbines to combat all kinds of emergencies,” said a senior police officer.

Besides, there will be 18 police assistance booths across the city. “We will deploy policemen at all the Metro Railway stations and fire brigade stations, too. These policemen will be on 24-hour vigil,” added Singh.

All these measures apart, sleuths from the detective department will be on the job, too. They will do the rounds as pandal-hoppers.

“We will give them small arms, like 9-mm pistols. Sleuths from the watch section will be on the streets to keep a close eye on the crowd,” said an official of the detective department.

Personnel of the traffic police have been put on high alert. “Last year, pandal-hoppers from areas adjoining the city created complete chaos even in the morning. They were not aware of the basic traffic norms. So, we will engage personnel to control the crowd from the districts,” said a senior officer at the Lalbazar police headquarters.

Immersion date

The last date for immersions has been set for October 7. “It is mandatory for all the puja organisers. Anyone found violating our instructions will be prosecuted,” warned deputy commissioner Singh.

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