With less than 24 hours left for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir to address an election rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium in Srinagar, the entire city has been turned into a fortified fortress.
Even though security forces are already on high alert in view of the Assembly elections and sudden spurt in militant violence, a fresh advisory has been issued to all security agencies to keep a close watch on anti-national elements who may try to disrupt peace during Modi's rally.
Official sources said that security forces have occupied all high rise buildings around the stadium to keep a close watch on vehicular and pedestrian movements. Thirty paramilitary forces companies have been deployed in and around the stadium while sharp shooters have been deployed on Suliman Tang and Rustam Gali in the Dalgate area, to secure the area and neutralize any threat.
Meanwhile, the roads leading to the stadium from civil lines has been closed with barbed wire near Radio Kashmir crossing and neither vehicles nor pedestrians are being allowed to go towards the stadium. Similarly, vehicles coming from south Kashmir, including Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Pampore are being diverted through bypass to reach civil lines from Nowgam.
They said check points have been established at Tourist Reception Centre, Budshah Chowk, Ram Bagh and civil lines. Almost all vehicles, particularly carrying passengers are being searched and passengers frisked before they are allowed to go.
Vehicles entering the city from outsides are also being searches before allowing them to go as security forces believe that militants may try to sneak into civil lines from outskirts to cause disturbances. Security forces on December 5 killed two Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) militants when they were trying to infiltrate into the city from outskirts at Soura.
Modi will be the third Prime Minister of the country to address a rally from the same venue in high security Sonawar area of the city.
Earlier in 2003, the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee addressed a public rally, extending a hand of friendship to Pakistan when relations between the two neighbour countries were at its low following Kargil war. The offer was welcomed by Pakistan and a dialogue process was initiated between the two countries. Later in May both the countries restore diplomatic ties.
Later in 2004, Dr Manmohan Singh, as the prime minister of India, addressed a public meeting at SK stadium. However, hours before Dr Singh was to address the rally, security forces foiled a 'fidayeen' attack and killed two militants who were hiding in a nearby structure at Rustam Gali top to attack the rally.