Ensuring safety at political rallies -- the Delhi Police way
New Delhi: Perfect planning, coordination among various agencies and fool-proof security arrangements put in place at least two weeks in advance are Delhi Police's mantra to ensure safe political mega rallies, officials said here Monday, a day after a BJP rally in Patna saw a series of bomb blasts.
“Delhi is going to see a number of rallies in the run-up to the state assembly polls and then general elections. From now onwards, we would be extra vigilant,” an officer told IANS. The police officer said they prepare for any political event at least two weeks in advance. The first step is to appoint a nodal officer to oversee the entire arrangement.
"It is this officer's job to carve out a plan. He inspects the venue, coordinates with the officials and draws up the security plan. The process begins two weeks in advance," the officer said. An anti-sabotage check operation is also carried out.
"In the anti-sabotage operation, we use explosive detectors, mine sweepers, hand-held metal detectors and other things to sweep the rally ground," the officer added. “Every district police has an anti-sabotage team that inspects the venue at least three times before the rally begins,” said another officer.
Delhi has at least eight small and big grounds where political rallies are organised. Besides the door-frame metal detectors, police also frisk people with hand-held metal detectors. Special Commissioner of Police (Security) Taj Hassan said the Delhi policemen keep a vigil not only at the venue but also at the parking areas.
“Traffic management is also very crucial. We monitor it,” Hassan told IANS. Another officer said policemen in civilian clothes are also posted as "observers" on buildings that face the venue. “Close Circuit Television Cameras (CCTVs), machchans and deployment of sufficient number of policemen in and around the venue help us in covering the rally without any untoward incident,” Hassan said.
As intelligence inputs are very crucial, the role of the nodal officer is also to take the help of the intelligence unit. "We also rope in commandos, the bomb disposal and dog squads. In all the rallies, fire tenders are stationed. Besides, ambulances are also stationed in case of any eventuality," the officer added.
According to official statistics, Delhi witnessed 1,599 minor and major demonstrations last year in the New Delhi and central Delhi police districts alone in which hundreds of thousands participated. There were also 366 religious processions and gatherings.
The Indian capital saw some of the biggest public gatherings in 2011 when anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare fasted for a Jan Lokpal bill, drawing hundreds of thousands at the sprawling Ramlila ground over 12 days.
"We plan for each and every detail and also prepare for any eventuality. So far, things have gone fine and we hope it will continue to be so in the future too," the officer added.