Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on the 76th Independence Day from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15, 2022 amid a multi-layered security cover, where facial recognition system cameras, IP-based CCTV cameras and 10,000 Delhi Police personnel were deployed in and around the Red Fort.
Amid a light drizzle throughout, 75 metre-long scrolls featuring notable freedom fighters from all over India fluttered in the cool morning breeze, hanging from the ramparts of the Red Fort. Those featured included the likes of Bhagwan Birsa Munda, Saifuddin Kitchlew from Jammu and Kashmir among others.
The scrolls were made by 500 master artists from across the country in collaboration with the National Gallery of Modern Art under the Kala Kumbh project. A total of 10 scrolls were made of which eight were displayed on the walls of the Red Fort.
While this year too the security arrangements included setting up shipping containers to close off the premises, the containers were painted in colours of the flag and the logo of the government’s Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav campaign. The boundary walls of the Red Fort premises were adorned with paintings of tribal art and scenes depicting local Indians in conflict with the British security forces.
Guard of Honour
The celebrations kicked off around 7 a.m. with the Guard of Honour, consisting of one officer and 20 men each from the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Delhi Police, led by Wing Commander Kunal Khanna. The Prime Minister arrived at the Red Fort from the Rajghat, after paying obeisance to Mahatma Gandhi, following which he inspected the Guard of Honour and went up to the ramparts where he was greeted by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt and the three Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Squadron leader Sunita Yadav then assisted Mr. Modi as he unfurled the tricolour atop the Red Fort and the Air Force band started playing the National Anthem, which was synchronised with the ceremonial 21-gun salute, fired by the valiant gunners of the elite 8711 Field Battery.
As the audience stood for the National Anthem with the Prime Minister, the loud booms of the home-grown howitzer gun, Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), developed under the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, echoed around the Red Fort along with the ceremonial 21-gun salute.
Following this, two MI-17 1V helicopters of the 129 Helicopter Unit, the Nubra Warriors, flew in the Amrit formation to shower rose and marigold petals upon the audience as Mr. Modi waved at them from the Red Fort.
After the Prime Minister concluded his speech, the nearly 800 cadets of the National Cadet Corps, assembled in the shape of the map of India, led the singing of the National Anthem. On his way out, Mr. Modi, in an impromptu move, stopped his convoy to get off and meet with the cadets.
Thousands of people, including government officials, their families, and special invitees (anganwadi workers, mortuary workers, Mudra beneficiaries, street vendors, and officers and cadets from 14 different countries visiting India on an exchange programme)watched as the Prime Minister spoke with and went around meeting the cadets before he exited the premises as hundreds more tried to catch a glimpse of the festivities from outside.
Facial recognition cameras
For security at the event, more than 10,000 personnel of the Delhi Police were deployed at the Red Fort. The police installed facial recognition cameras (FRS) around the area for face detection and to monitor movement. More than 1,000 Internet Protocol-based CCTV cameras were also put up in and around the area, the police said.
Security personnel, including teams of the Delhi Police, Central Armed Police Force (CRPF) jawans and commandos, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), National Security Guard (NSG), Special Units, and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) guarded entry checkpoints set up outside the Red Fort.
An officer said invitation cards and ID proofs were checked before entering the venue. A triple layer security system was followed for all, a senior police officer said. A total of seven check-posts were functional at the Red Fort with heavy police deployment. Thorough frisking was carried out at several locations.
NSG snipers deployed
National Security Guard (NSG) snipers, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) commandos, canine units, sharpshooters on buildings and 400 kite catchers were deployed for airtight security at the Fort. The Delhi Fire Service had also deployed a fire tender in case of an emergency
A five-kilometre area around the Red Fort was marked as a “no kite flying zone,” till the tricolour was hoisted. Network jammers were installed as well, an officer added.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Sagar Singh Kalsi said the teams carried out security checks including door-to-door verifications and anti-terror drills in the last two-three months.
While the police had said arrangements were made for 7,000 invitees, COVID protocols and special measures were taken at the Red Fort. Body temperature was checked.
“The FRS scan was a success, we were able to verify some notorious persons who were previously involved in snatching and theft, including bad characters and a few history-sheeters,” a senior officer added.