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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Kashmir turns into fortress ahead of India’s Republic Day

A day before India’s 72nd Republic Day, police and paramilitary forces carried out random searches and an area-domination exercise at Lal Chowk and adjoining areas of summer capital Srinagar on Monday. The presence of Indian government forces has been beefed up across Kashmir to prevent pro-freedom militants and locals from carrying out demonstrations. 

The police, assisted by Indian paramilitary forces, carried out the searches in the Lal Chowk, Court Road and Residency Road areas, reports said on Monday. 

The Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium, the main venue for the Indian Republic Day celebrations in the valley, as well as in other districts of Kashmir, have been turned into garrisons. 

Officials said various measures have been put in place to ensure that the event passes off peacefully. 

Random checking of vehicles and frisking of passengers are being carried out at several places, the officials said, adding that the deployment of government forces around vital installations in and around the city and other district headquarters has been strengthened. 

A thick layer of military has been thrown around the venue — a few kilometres away from the Lal Chowk city centre — and the area has been sanitised. 

The Indian government forces have been asked to remain alert and more check-points have been erected in the city, the officials said. 

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir Vijay Kumar on Sunday said the situation is under control and expressed confidence that the day will pass off without any demonstrations. 

“The situation is under control. The functions will be held incident-free,” he said here. 

Kumar said a multi-layered cover has been put in place and domination and surveillance of areas are being undertaken. 

“A three-layered security arrangement has been put in place. Areas are being dominated, frisking and checking of vehicles are being undertaken. Drones are also being used,” he said. 

The IGP said his forces are launching cordon-and-search operations “wherever there is some suspicion” as regards the presence of militants.

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