Ahead of the 70th Republic Day celebration, security in the National Capital has been stepped up with many CISF personnel deployed at metro stations and at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport. This included a multi-layered frisking of passengers at metro stations and the IGI airport.
Almost an additional 400 CISF personnel were deployed at both the venues across Delhi.
Metro passengers are being scrupulously frisked by two personnel at the time of entering a station, travelers at the airport are being asked to remove shoes, heavy jackets and belts before boarding the aircraft.
As we draw closer to the January 26 celebrations, an area ranging between Janpath near the National Archives building all the way to Vijay Chowk received a higher level of security checks with many being asked to turn back if they had any of the following items; phones, purses, coins and even spectacles.
A Red Cross Donation box was kept at Janpath where coins collected from visitors were dropped because they were not allowed to take it any further. Similarly for those who held VIP passes were allowed to keep their belongings on a table kept near the security check. They were allowed to take their items back when they were leaving.
This caused the visitors a lot of frustration as they had to stand in long lines only to be turned back.
"The security drills have been stepped up at the Delhi Metro stations and at the Delhi airport in view of the upcoming Republic Day celebrations in Delhi on January 26. Body frisking and checking of luggage at these two public transport facilities have been intensified and are being randomly changed on the basis of intelligence inputs," a senior Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officer said.
He added that passengers should keep some "extra time" in hand while using these two facilities.
Additional quick reaction teams (QRTs) and counter-terror squads were deployed at those metro stations that witnessed a heavy footfall or were important from the security point of view and similarly, additional teams were deployed at the airport too, the officer said.
At many metro stations, passengers were being frisked twice, first manually and then with a hand-held metal detector, he said, adding that the additional manpower of security personnel was being used to conduct patrols and keep an eye on suspicious elements.
"About 400 more CISF personnel have been deployed in the Delhi Metro network as part of the stepped-up security measures," the officer said.
At the IGI airport, passengers were randomly being asked to undertake a second frisking -- the Secondary Ladder Point Check (SLPC) -- just before entering the aircraft, a security official at the airport said.
"All civilian passes issued to people for entering the terminal areas of the airport have been disallowed as a routine practice of security drills followed during the Republic Day," the official said.
In specific cases, he said, passengers were being asked to take off their shoes and belts before they were frisked.
The National Security Guard (NSG), which had trained commandos, had also deployed its strategic counter-terror and counter-hijack task forces at these two facilities, apart from other strategic locations in the national capital, the official said.
Presently, about 5,000 CISF personnel each are deployed at the Delhi Metro and the IGI respectively.