Majid Kapra

Tech & intel helped in managing Christmas, New Year gatherings at Lal Chowk: Police  

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Srinagar: Police on Thursday said the department had made elaborate security arrangements, using technology and human intelligence to ensure seamless Christmas and New Year celebrations in Srinagar.

The smooth celebration of two significant events at the historic ‘Ghanta Ghar’ (clock tower) at the city centre Lal Chowk is seen as a huge accomplishment for the police department, Superintendent of Police (SP) East, Ram Raghvan said while addressing media here this evening.

Raghvan said “for the first time in the Kashmir Valley since 90’s, an ocean of visitors and local residents could be seen dancing in the middle of the road on New Year eve at Lal Chowk.

“While there were sophisticated security measures in place, the objective was to provide unrestricted mobility rather than discouraging the average person from moving around. Technology and intelligence underpinned the security measures that were in place,” SP East said.

With the help of CCTV cameras, he said the department continuously monitored any suspicious movement in the vicinity that would disturb peace.

The tourist flow on Christmas and New Year, SP East said, remained high in Srinagar with all hotels and houseboats booked in advance.

“The number of tourists visiting Srinagar exceeded expectations. The visitors could be seen moving freely around Ghanta Ghar in Lal Chowk, while all the hotels and houseboats were reserved well in advance,” he said.

He said the police will persist in its ongoing effort to make people feel safe as it has done for years. 

According to Raghvan, the police department will stick with the same plan to guarantee unhindered movement and smooth festivities on all important occasions.

“In future, we’re probably going to use the same approach. Additionally, the government is in favor of growth and an increase in tourism-related activities. In keeping with this, we have begun developing permanent infrastructure that will enable unrestricted movement of people,” SP East said, adding “we have a lot of investments in place and the police will help conduct these events smoothly and in a very free manner in future as well.”

The people of Kashmir, he said, have embraced the changes made in the recent past, and the department has put in place river police as well as other resources to facilitate smooth gatherings in Srinagar.

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