TAMIL NADU

Tight security for I-Day celebrations

MADURAI, AUG.14. Tight security arrangements have been made for Independence Day celebrations in southern districts.

Armed police personnel have taken positions at sensitive areas and a strict access-control has been clamped at vital installations.

Though intelligence agencies have not pointed to any specific threat perception, the law-enforcing agencies have undertaken an elaborate security exercise.

"A general alert has been sounded in the districts and the Superintendents of Police have been directed to enhance security at places of worship, statues of national leaders, Tamil Nadu Electricity Board establishments and airports," the Inspector-General of Police (South Zone), T.K. Rajendran, told The Hindu.

The police have stepped up vigil in sensitive areas, which have a history of caste and communal violence.

Night patrolling and vehicle checks will be intensified with reinforcements from the Armed Reserve and Tamil Nadu Special Police personnel.

Anti-sabotage checks

The Madurai Division of the Southern Railway has also drawn a security scheme with more emphasis on anti-sabotage checks.

Armed sleuths of the Government Railway Police have been deployed at bridges and culverts. "We have also begun track patrolling on important sections. Besides installing door-frame metal detectors at the entrance of railway stations, the police will frisk baggage of passengers/parcels at the booking office with the help of hand-held metal detectors and sniffer dogs," the Railway Protection Force Divisional Security Commissioner, P.V.S. Santaram, said.

He said the RPF personnel were locking the empty rakes of trains after a thorough check.

"The compartments will be opened for passengers a few minutes before the scheduled departure of the train. As a crowd-control measure, we are planning to allow passengers/visitors only after verifying their travel/platform tickets."

The number of security personnel on trains had been strengthened and armed RPF men would be deployed along wayside stations.

Public announcements were being made at railway stations requesting passengers not to touch suspicious articles and inform the police if they found such unclaimed baggage on trains/platform, Mr. Santaram added.

Security at Meenakshi Temple

The city police have beefed up security at the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple. The manpower at check-posts and out-posts has been increased as a precautionary measure. "Plainclothesmen will be posted at major venues of Independence Day functions," the Commissioner of Police, Vijay Kumar, said.

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