Security Drill Begins: Police Smells Militant Threat, Gear Up Guard7 January 2011
Srinagar: Ahead of January 26, security agencies have sounded a ‘high alert’ across Kashmir and started security drills in view of militant threats and pledge by rightwing BJP to hoist Indian flag in city centre. Police sources said an alert has been sounded in Valley after the recent militant attack in Batamaloo that injured a police officer and a constable. “All security agencies have been directed to step up their vigil. Police and CRPF men have been asked to conduct surprise frisking operations at various important locations especially in Lal Chowk,” they said. They said all close circuit televisions (CCTVs) installed at important locations from Dalgate to Amira Kadal have been activated to keep a close watch on the movement of people. “After noticing suspicious movement, police and CRPF can launch sudden crackdown operation in any locality,” police sources said. SSP Srinagar, Syed Ashaq Hussain Bukhari said all arrangements have been put in place to ensure incident-free January 26 function. “There is a possibility that militants may play mischief but we are prepared to deal with any kind of eventuality,” he said. In run up to January 26 function, police have already started registration of houses falling in the vicinity of Bakshi Stadium, the main venue for January 26 function in the Valley. “Police has been registering the names of house-owners and the number of family members as well,” the locals said. However, city police chief said it is a routine thing. “There is nothing new in it,” he said. CRPF spokesman, Prabhakar Tripathi said they have got intelligence inputs that militants may try to strike on January 26 to make their presence felt. “Threat perception is always there,” he said. The security agencies, however, are yet to decide whether to allow the pro-Hindutva BJP to hoist Indian flag at Lal Chowk, Srinagar. “We will not allow anybody to create law and order problem in Lal Chowk. As far as flag hoisting proposal of BJP is concerned, there are no clear-cut directions from the government so far,” a senior police official said, wishing not to be named. BJP’s youth wing has threatened that it would go ahead with its plans and hoist Indian flag at Lal Chowk on January 26. JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik has asked BJP not to go ahead with flag hoisting plan. “We will see, who will hoist the flag, they (BJP) or we (JKLF),” he has said. “The BJP’s pledge and counter threat by JKLF has become a cause of worry for the security agencies. The government was waiting for the final nod from New Delhi whether to allow BJP to unfurl the flag or not,” police sources said. CRPF spokesman said the paramilitary forces are in Valley to assist the police. “So far, we have not received any official communiqué from the administration or police about making additional deployment in Lal Chowk on January 26 to foil BJP’s flag hoisting plan,” he said. The chief minister Omar Abdullah has already conveyed to BJP that they will be entirely responsible in case flag hoisting results in any untoward incident in Valley.