Red Fort gears up for I-Day

Red Fort gears up for I-Day

On guard

Three days ahead of the 69th Independence Day celebrations, preparations, rehearsals and strict security is very visible in and around the vicinities of Red Fort.

At 5.30 in the morning, the streets of Chandni Chowk are abuzz with activity, with rickshaw pullers, ragpickers, labourers and people starting with their day’s operations. 

Just when the first rays of the sun hit the majestic ramparts of the fort, thousands of children in disciplined queues, from schools across the city, troop in to rehearse for their performance during the Independence Day celebrations. Dressed in the vibrant hues of the tricolour, they exude energy and enthusiasm to perform on the big day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his cabinet colleagues and dignitaries.

Like every year, the gates of Red Fort have been closed to general public since August 8, police officials tell Metrolife. On the other hand, the excessive security bandobast is visible in the heavily barricaded roads teeming with police officials and security personnel. In view of the recent Gurdaspur terror attack, there is extra vigil.

With loudspeakers playing patriotic songs even at this early hour, one feels a certain excitement and anticipation for the celebrations coming up over the weekend. There is a definite air of partirotism all around.

Rajender Kumar, a tourist guide, who has been taking tourists to areas in and around the historic fort for the past 38 years tells Metrolife, “From Black Cobra officials, security guards, Border Security Force and commandos to entire Delhi Police force, everybody here is taking charge of the place to ensure safety. In all these years, this is the first time that I’m seeing such strong security during Independence Day.”

Every passer-by and commuters are being kept an eye on. While entries inside the Fort are strictly restricted, police personnel and event organisers appear to be enjoying easy access into the Fort.

However, the police officials contradict Kumar’s statement about “increased security
this year”. “The security force operates with equal intensity every year during Independence Day. When children come early in the morning for their rehearsals, we are all the more obligated to take care of their safety. Also, for the Prime Minister’s speech this year, VIPs and his admirers have been invited from all across the country,” says
an official requesting anonymity.

As one progresses towards the road that leads to ITO, from Jama Masjid and Delhi Gate, at least four security guards and traffic police can be seen at every traffic signal.

Nothing else says it better than this heightened security, what terrorism has done to the mental and overall health of the country. But here’s hoping that the spectre of terror will not cloud the country’s joy at reaching its 69th milestone!

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