New Delhi: The might of Indian state was on display on Friday as the participants did a full dress rehearsal for Republic Day. Columns of smartly turned out soldiers and officers marched to patriotic tunes. A sight that would make any citizen swell with pride and may even reassure some that the nation is in safe hands.
But ironically the parade itself is under threat. On Sunday morning the Uttar Pradesh police shot dead two militants trying to enter the capital. It’s little wonder the that New Delhi’s central district, that houses the President, Prime Minister and his cabinet has been converted into a fortress.
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“Approximately 2,000 policemen have been deployed in the central district. In addition we have deployed commandos on roof tops as well,” says Jaspal Singh, the deputy commissioner of police of the central district.
Buildings on the parade route have been searched and sealed and arrangements have been made to divert traffic when the parade starts. “We have a very deep deployment of traffic policemen, so that people are able to find their way across the city and are not affected by the traffic diversions,” says Singh.
The capital will be made a no-fly zone during the parade and metro trains passing near the main venue on the Rajpath will not be allowed to operate services in the morning.
Like every year, there are some who question the wisdom of holding such an elaborate parade, in the middle of the city. Others take pride on the display of power by the state.