Delhi on high alert for International Yoga Day

New Delhi


The national capital has been put on high alert ahead of Sunday's mega International Yoga Day event with around 5,000 security personnel to keep a hawks-eye vigil on Rajpath from early Sunday morning.

A total of 30 companies (over 3,000 personnel) of Delhi Police's special battalions along with other police personnel, National Security Guard (NSG) commandos, dog squads, sharp shooters and 18 deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) will be deputed in the area around Rajpath and Vijay Chowk since 3 a.m. on Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ministers, foreign diplomats and senior officials will be present at Rajpath for the event.

Intelligence agencies have warned Delhi Police and other security agencies of a possible aerial attack, and that banned terror outfits could try to create trouble during the event.

Following the alert, Delhi Police banned flying of kites, balloons, gliders and micro-light objects during the programme. The use of drones has also been banned.

Police will barricade all eight arterial roads that lead to India Gate on Sunday. The event begins at 7 a.m., but the participants numbering over 37,000 will begin converging since 5 a.m.

"We have taken proper steps to ensure safety during the event, to ensure smooth movement of traffic and to maintain law and order. We will be deploying 18 DCPs in the areas near Rajpath and Vijay Chowk," Commissioner of Police B.S. Bassi said.

A senior police officer said that over 300 police personnel in plain clothes will be deputed in the area.

According to the officer, a three-tier security blanket -- like the one for the Republic Day parade -- will be in place around the venue.

"We have installed over 350 CCTV cameras around Rajpath and its nearby areas to keep strict watch on the movement of people," the official said.

The areas restricted to the public are: Mother Teresa Crescent, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, outer circle of Connaught Place between Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Barakhamba Road, Bhagwan Dass Marg, Mathura Road, Lodhi Road, Aurobindo Chowk, Safdarganj Road, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Marg, Kautilya Marg and Sardar Patel Marg up to 11 Murti.

"Only labelled vehicles of invitees and residents of these areas will be permitted to enter the area during the programme on Sunday," Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander told IANS.

The 35-minute event organised by the AYUSH ministry is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. on Sunday. Thousands of school children, members of the armed forces, National Cadet Corps (NCC), government officials and yoga enthusiasts will perform yoga asanas at Rajpath. - IANS