Vendors to help police ahead of Obama visit

Updated - January 05, 2015 08:25 am IST

Published - January 05, 2015 01:49 am IST - New Delhi:

The police are supplementing anti-terror measures in the run-up to Republic Day celebrations, during which U.S. President Barack Obama will be the chief guest, by ‘educating’ hawkers and street vendors about the ‘significance of his visit’ and ‘requesting’ their active participation in grassroots intelligence-gathering ‘for the sake of the nation’.

According to a senior police officer, personnel in charge of patrolling around three dozen beats in the heart of Central Delhi had been issued orders to expand their communication base and ‘multiply the number of daily interactions’ they had with ‘all the road-side vendors in their jurisdiction’ from New Year.

“The beat policeman deployed in the area where I sell snacks, who is usually very quiet, walked up to me on Thursday and began talking about Republic Day and how it was a matter of pride that the U.S. President was coming to India,” said Chander Kumar, a street vendor.

“I was a little apprehensive at first, thinking that he was going to ask me to pay up if I wanted to continue my business till January 26, before he pleasantly asked me to keep an eye out for him. If anything ‘bad happened’ prior to Republic Day, he told me, it would reflect badly on all of us,” Kumar added.

Several street vendors on Parliament Street, Raisina Road, Janpath, Barakhamba Road, and India Gate had similar tales to relate.

New Delhi district has always been a ripe location for a terror strike.

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