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I-Day, dahi handi today, police on high alert

Published On : 15 Aug 2017   |  Reported By : Courtesy: The Hindu   |  Pic On: Photo credit-The Hindu

Mumbai, (The Hindu) : The city police are on high alert and have tightened security ahead of Independence Day on Tuesday, which coincides with dahi handi celebrations this year. “We are taking all possible security measures,” a senior police officer said.

Security at all sensitive establishments and important buildings in the city has been increased. Police patrolling has been stepped up and vehicles coming into the city are being checked at entry points.

Units of the Quick Response Team, Anti-Terrorism Squad, Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad, Crime Branch and reserve forces are ready for deployment, the officer said. “In view of Independence Day and Dahi Handi, we are deploying enough forces to maintain law and order,” DCP Rashmi Karandikar, spokesperson, Mumbai Police, said.

The large crowds that dahi handi celebrations attract would pose an additional challenge for the police, who would already be dealing with Independence Day security. A senior officer said though the usual glamour associated with the festival appears to have reduced, police will keep a tight vigil and deploy plainclothes personnel for monitoring crowds, another officer added.

Police sources said that senior Mumbai Police officers are in constant touch with the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad as well as central agencies in order to coordinate better on anti-terror measures. An officer said this time, there was a dual challenge in terms of security, as there would be VIP movement in some parts of the city and heavy crowds in other parts. “Places with high footfall are always targets of choice for terror strikes as an attack in such a place ensures maximum loss of life and limb,” a senior officer said.

Mumbai has always been regarded as sensitive in terms of terror attacks after the serial bomb blasts of 1993, and the threat perception increased after the November 26, 2008 attacks.

Four years later, in September 2014, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri released a video announcing that the terror outfit was setting up a cell exclusively to target India. In 2016, State and Central agencies had busted an Islamic State module, named Junood-al-Khalifa-e-Hind (Army of the Caliph in India), which had members across the country including in Mumbai and parts of Maharashtra.

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