Srinagar: Drones have been pressed into service to keep a strict vigil ahead of Independence Day (ID) celebrations in major towns in the Kashmir valley, including Srinagar, where Lt Governor Manoj Sinha will hoist the national flag on August 15.
Meanwhile, security forces have intensified foot patrolling and random checking of vehicles to foil any attempt by militants to smuggle in arms and ammunition from the outskirts of the city for causing a disturbance on or before Independence Day.
Official sources said that there are reports from different intelligence agencies that some militant groups will try to cause disturbance on or before the ID celebrations in the valley, where security forces have also intensified operations against militants.
Security forces were seen flying about a dozen drones at Pratap Park in the heart of the civil lines.
“We are monitoring the situation on the ground using drones in the entire city, including historic Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the city,” CRPF officials said.
“We will foil any attempt by militants to cause any disturbance in the city,” they said.
Besides keeping a vigil on the movement of pedestrians, drones will also be used to monitor activities in high-rise buildings and other structures in the civil lines.
A large number of people were witnessing today’s drone operation in the park and other areas in the city.
The officials said they have also introduced very powerful drones which will help to keep a close watch in vast areas.
Every minor movement of people will be observed and recorded through these drones in several kilometers, they said adding these movements can be witnessed live in the area and also in the main control room.
Security forces will remain deployed to react to any situation within no time, they said.
Sources said that though there are no specific inputs about a particular target of militants, a fresh alert has been issued to field commanders to ensure ultras are not able to hit soft targets in the city.
Recent militant attacks on security forces in Srinagar and south Kashmir at a time when security forces were on high alert have put up a new challenge.
Sources said that in the past it was observed that militants are hitting soft targets by hurling grenades in the city to get more attention from the media.
Later, sources said, these militants are escaping back to their hideout in the outskirts.
“This time we are keeping a close watch on people entering the city from outside to foil any attempt to smuggle in arms and ammunition,” sources in the security forces said.
At several places, security forces were seen searching vehicles, including three and two-wheelers.
Passengers, drivers, and pillion riders were being thoroughly frisked and their identity cards verified before allowing them to go into the city.
Security forces were also seen checking vehicles at Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) and other roads leading to S K Stadium, where the main function of the Independence Day will be held on August 15 when Sinha will unfurl the national flag.
For the past several years, the main functions of ID and Republic Day (RD) are being held at S K Stadium in high-security Sonawar as the Bakshi Stadium in the uptown was under renovation.
In the 90s militants were firing rockets and grenades towards the Bakshi stadium to disturb ID and RD functions.
Reports of tight security arrangements being made in the main towns and tehsil headquarters were also received from other parts of the Kashmir valley. (UNI)