|Early Times Report|
JAMMU, Jan 25: Tthick security blanket has been thrown across Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday on the eve of the Republic Day, the first after the August 5 abrogation of Article 370 provisions.
Lt Governor G C Murmu will take the salute at the Maulana Azad Stadium here, the main venue of the Republic Day celebrations on January 26 in the newly-created union territory, which was virtually sealed to ensure peaceful celebrations, officials said.
However, three former chief ministers -- National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti -- will miss the celebrations in view of their continuous detention since August 5 last year when the Centre announced the revocation of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Besides the Maulana Azad Stadium, the tricolour would be unfurled in all districts and tehsil headquarters, including block development offices, across the union territory.
In the Kashmir Valley, the main Republic Day function will be held at the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium in Srinagar, the officials said.
"Multi-layered security arrangements have been put in place at all the venues of the Republic Day celebrations to thwart any attempt by terrorists to disrupt the functions.
"In addition, security has been stepped up at vital installations, including railway stations, bus stands and important religious places like Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Reasi district and Raghunath Temple in Jammu city, and more check points set up along the highways," they said.
Following intelligence inputs suggesting possible attempts by terrorists to sneak into Jammu and Kashmir through the International Border (IB) and the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu region to carry out a terror attack, the authorities had strengthened the counter-insurgency grid and set up additional posts in border areas.
"As against the previous years, more central paramilitary forces are available with us this time and accordingly, the deployments were made keeping in view the threat perception. The security along the borders has also been tightened, all the infiltration routes have been barricaded and check posts set up," Inspector General of Police, Jammu zone, Mukesh Singh, had said.
He said police and other security forces are using drones for aerial surveillance to keep a close vigil.
Meanwhile, patriotic fervour gripped Jammu as people thronged markets to buy the tricolour and other articles to celebrate the Republic Day in a befitting manner.
Apart from national flags of various sizes, the shopkeepers have made available attractive Indian maps and flower bouquets and garlands with a theme depicting Republic Day attracting heavy rush of shoppers.