Srinagar, Dec 7:
Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar resembled a fortress Sunday as security forces virtually took charge of the city ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public rally Monday.
“It is one of the most elaborate security arrangements we have ever made in and around Srinagar in recent times,” a senior police officer said.
Barricades were erected to ensure that no one from outside Srinagar enters the city Sunday and Monday without passing through an exhaustive access control system.
Vehicles were halted and checked to ensure no subversive material is smuggled into the city where Modi is scheduled to address his first public rally after becoming the prime minister.
The venue, the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium, has been taken over by the security forces.
Levelling of the ground and refurbishing of the stadium as well as removal of flood waste has been going on for over a week at the venue.
The stadium is out of bounds for everyone except those directly engaged in the security arrangements.
The stadium was flooded like many other places in uptown Srinagar during the devastating September floods this year.
Director General of Police K. Rajendra Kumar visited the stadium Saturday to oversee security details.
The weekend market, otherwise a permanent feature of the city centre Lal Chowk and Residency Road, was not allowed Sunday as these places happen to be located near the stadium.
Very little private and public transport plied on Srinagar’s roads Sunday.
Modi’s public rally to seek support for BJP candidates in assembly elections is being held in the aftermath of the bloody Friday in which 21 people were killed in terror attacks in the Kashmir Valley.
Hundreds of police and paramilitary personnel are overseeing security in the city, including the Shankaracharya hill.
This is to prevent militants from firing rocket propelled grenades during the rally.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is expecting a large number of people to flock to the stadium Monday to hear Modi.