Delhi

Hindon security beefed up but gaps remain

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One month after the terrorist attack on the Pathankot Air Force base, The Hindu visited the Hindon air base just outside the national Capital to check ifsecurity at the base had been enhanced. While the IAF has made efforts to make the base impregnable, there are gaps that need to be urgently plugged

ike all other air bases around the country, security at the Hindon Air Force base in Ghaziabad, has been stepped up following the terrorist attack on the Pathankot Air Force base on January 2 this year, the police claim.

But a visit to the areas adjoining Hindon reveals several gaps in the security of the base, which reportedly houses aircraft meant to protect the national capital from any possible aerial threat.

At Kaheda village near Mohan Nagar adjoining the air base, there are stretches where there is no boundary wall. At other places, broken barbed wire fences and a makeshift perimeter wall made of corrugated sheets serve as security measures against any external threat.

What is worse, movement of villagers in this vulnerable stretch is not restricted, making it possible for someone to simply walk into the base during an unguarded moment.

But residents of the village and the police say the Air Force has tried to plug the gaps after the Pathankot attack.

The dilapidated barbed wire fencing is in the process of being repaired and in stretches where there was no perimeter protection, asbestos or metallic sheets have been put in place to deter any unauthorised entry.

Mohan Nagar businessman Nitin said the increased security and surveillance measures give them a sense of assurance that any Pathankot-type attempt will be foiled. In Pasonda, a village close to the base, villagers said patrolling has been scaled up many times after Pathankot.

Citing the sensitivity of the matter, most policemen at the two police posts – Hindon Air Force Station and Karan Gate under the Sahibabad police station -- remain tight-lipped about the deployment which has been put in place.

Sahibabad Station House Officer (SHO) Hardayal Singh Yadav is willing to speak on the subject but keeps the replies brief.

He provides a brief description of the added security measures taken to beef up the security around the base.

“A team of 15-20 policemen take rounds around the base every night and as and when needed we get force from other areas. After the Pathankot incident, we have started a verification drive where we conducted searches,” says Mr. Yadav.

Another policeman added that since the incident five teams have been formed pooling in manpower from other police stations in the districts as well as from the reserve forces.

“They patrol the area whole night between 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. This involves patrolling on Gypsies as well as leopard patrolling (a term used for surveillance on motor cycles),” he said.

In addition, the local intelligence unit of Ghaziabad Police also keeps an eye in civil clothes.

Mr. Yadav recalls how during one such search operation, he himself went to 200 houses on one particular night.

Mansoor, who works for a local newspaper Awam-e-Hind and lives in Pasonda, adds the verification drive involves door-to-door visits by police who collect information about the house owners and tenants, a rare exercise in the pre-Pathankot days.

Then there are those like Assistant Sub Inspector Arun Kumar at whose response to a potential challenge is filled with a lot of bravado.

“There will be no compromise with the security of the country. I am completely confident that we will shoot the last terrorist down in case of an attack,” he says.

A reality check into this claimed readiness is on offer at the entry point of Sahibabad police station itself where one spots a gunner carrying of the outdated .303 rifles.

A safe assumption would be that these weapons would be no match to the sophisticated ones used by terrorists in recent times or potentially.

When The Hindu pointed this out to the staff there, the reply was a concise advice to not probe about “the arsenal in our police station.”





There are stretches where there is no boundary wall. Elsewhere, broken barbed-wire fences and a perimeter wall made of corrugated sheets serve as protection





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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 10:24:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/hindon-security-beefed-up-but-gaps-remain/article8190382.ece

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