The Maharashtra police have raised security concerns over the state government’s decision to shift the Republic Day parade in the city to the iconic Marine Drive from its earlier venue, Shivaji Park.
Top police officials expressed their reservations in a meeting chaired by Home Minister R.R. Patil last week. Police sources told The Hindu that officials questioned holding the parade in an open space, which cannot be adequately secured. One of the biggest concerns raised by officials is the inability to secure the C-shaped road popularly known as the Queen's Necklace.
The presence of the State’s top politicians at the venue will make it an even greater security risk, the police say. Sources said that the government plans to hold both the Republic Day and Independence Day parades at Marine Drive along the lines of the parade at Rajpath.
However, with the government refusing to reconsider, the police have chalked out a detailed security plan. For the first time, even dignitaries will not be allowed to carry anything to the venue.
“In the Boston Marathon attack, the accused used a backpack. So we have decided to ban all bags at the venue. Even the invites sent out to the dignitaries make this clear,” sources told The Hindu.
Officials said they expect a crowd of around 50,000 people. Around 4,000 police personnel will be at the venue. The Quick Response Team created after the 26/11 terror strike will man entry and the exit points.