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Crowds throng Bakshi Stadium ahead of PM Modi’s rally

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Srinagar: Wearing Modi masks and chanting his name, thousands of people from across Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday reached Srinagar’s Bakshi Stadium here to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally.

Hundreds of BJP supporters, wearing tricoloured turbans, also reached the venue while security personnel had a tough time managing the crowd.

Officials said tight security arrangements were in place but there were no restrictions on the movement of people.

Life was normal across the Kashmir valley and most of the shops and other business establishments were open here, the officials said.

They said there were no restrictions on the movement of the people in any part of the valley, except for traffic diversions around the venue of the PM’s rally.

“People are being allowed to move and there are no restrictions anywhere in Kashmir. The Traffic Police has announced some diversions for traffic around the venue, but other than that, there are no restrictions on the movement of the people,” they added.

Traffic movement on the city’s Jehangir Chowk to Rambagh and Rajbagh to LD Hospital-Tulsi Bagh route was restricted from 4 am to 7 pm given the VVIP visit, the officials said.

They said the Jahangir Chowk-Solina-Ram Bagh stretch also remained restricted for the civilian traffic movement.

Similarly, Raj Bagh-LD Hospital-Tulsi Bagh besides Gupkar Road up to the All India Radio Srinagar office also was restricted for civilian traffic movement.

However, the officials said all medical emergencies would be facilitated with access through the shortest possible route.

The prime minister landed at the Srinagar International Airport where he was received by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and senior leaders of the BJP.

From the airport, Modi flew to Badamibagh Cantonment, the headquarters of the Army’s 15 or Chinar Corps where laid a wreath at the War Memorial and paid tributes to the fallen soldiers, the officials said.

Later, Modi drove to Bakshi Stadium via Gupkar and Zero Bridge in a cavalcade, they said.

The security apparatus had secured the road from Badamibagh Cantonment to Bakshi Stadium. Tricolours, BJP flags and hoardings welcoming Modi were put up along the route that was taken by Modi.

Stringent security arrangements had been put in place to ensure an incident-free visit, they said.

Security personnel were deployed in large numbers along the routes to be taken by Modi in Srinagar while barricades had been set up at several places, they said.

Drones and CCTV cameras were used for surveillance while foot patrolling by the security forces was intensified in a two-kilometre radius around the venue, officials said.

Marine commandos were deployed in Jhelum River and Dal Lake to prevent the use of the water bodies for any subversive activities, the officials said.

Several schools in Srinagar were closed for two days, while board examinations scheduled to be held on Thursday were also postponed.


Photo/Farooq Javed

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