Hawk-eyed vigil as Obama visits Delhi

Hawk-eyed vigil as Obama visits Delhi

Watch towers have been erected on the central ridge opposite Hotel ITC Maurya Sheraton where Obama is staying while armed personnel from the elite National Security Guards and Delhi Police besides US Secret Services were guarding the facility spread over 5.5 acres.

Already a general alert has been sounded in the city where the US President and First Lady Michelle Obama will be staying till Tuesday morning. "There is no specific intelligence input," a senior police official said.

Security agencies have strengthened surveillance on the banks of Yamuna as some programmes of Obama will be held in localities which are near the river, the official said adding they were also keeping a tight vigil on flyovers on the President's route.
"We are not leaving anything to chance. We are taking all adequate steps to ensure the security of the visiting President," the official said. Obama has programmes at Humayun's Tomb and Rajghat which are near the river banks.

Obama have a busy schedule in the city visiting the Tomb and Rajghat, meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and addressing Parliament before he leaves.

Hundreds of snipers are keeping a watch from rooftops on the routes the President will be taking while aerial surveillance are also being maintained, the official said.

The ITC Maurya has been made out of bounds for the public with Indian and US security agencies taking over the building after sanitising the facility.

Around 2,000 police and paramilitary personnel have already been deployed in and around the hotel which had earlier hosted US Presidents Bill Clinton in 2000 and George W Bush in 2006 besides US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year.

Proximity security to Obama were being given by his guards while the other cordons will be manned by personnel from Delhi Police and paramilitary forces as also the NSG.

As part of the security measures, the official said, the Ridge area opposite the hotel has been lit up while personnel from Indian and US agencies have checked the manholes and sewer lines on the routes Obama is taking.

Security concerns have forced authorities to disable the "virtual tour" of Hotel Maurya Sheraton.

The management has disabled the "online virtual tour" section in the Delhi hotel website, officials said. The tour enables a client to have a sneak peek at the facilities provided by the hotel as well as the layout of the rooms.

Tight security is in place in Parliament where Obama will deliver an address tomorrow.

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