Srinagar is under an unprecedented security blanket. Marine commandos and National Security Guards (NSG) have been deployed in the region as part of the ground-to-air security cover ahead of the G20 Working Group meeting on Monday.
Marines, also known as Marcos, have taken over the security of Dal Lake, around the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC), the venue for the G20 meeting. NSG commandos have been conducting area domination exercises along with police and paramilitary forces. On Thursday, NSG carried out searches at Lal Chowk.
Army, Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Jammu and Kashmir Police are part of the security grid amid reports that terrorists may try to disrupt the G20 event in Kashmir.
“We have made three-tier security arrangements. Anti-drone equipment is being deployed with the help of NSG and army. For Dal Lake security, Marcos are being deployed besides the police. Police, BSF, CRPF and SSB are being deployed to ensure an incident-free event,” said Vijay Kumar, Additional Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir.
Around 100 delegates are expected to attend the 3rd G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar on May 22-24. Sources say China and Turkey are likely to skip the meeting.
On May 24, the G20 delegates were scheduled to meet at Gulmarg, the famous health and ski resort. However, the venue has already been cancelled. A senior official said the cancellation was due to some “logistical issues” and not due to any security concerns.
As part of precautionary measures, some top schools in Srinagar have been closed till May 25 and Kashmiri Pandit employees and employees from other minority groups have been asked not to attend their duties.
Sources say there are inputs that terrorists may try to carry out some major attacks to disrupt the G20 event in Srinagar.
Following recent attacks in Rajouri and Poonch, security forces are recalibrating their strategy to prevent any such incidents. Ten army soldiers, including five special forces commandos, were killed in two separate attacks in the region.
A massive cordon and search operation has failed to track down the attackers, who are believed to be well entrenched in dense forests.
Ahead of the meeting, a massive crackdown was launched by the police and security forces in various parts of Kashmir and a large number of suspects and separatists have been detained and arrested.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Police have issued an advisory cautioning people against some international mobile phone numbers spreading false rumours about the G20 meeting in Srinagar.
Repeated calls from British phone numbers are being made to scores of people in Kashmir as part of anti-G20 propaganda. Authorities have asked people to remain vigilant and not respond to such suspicious calls.