To test alertness of staff, police will ‘plant’ dummy IEDs in areas that see high footfall

To check alertness of district police and ensure vigilance, the Delhi Police Special Cell will

“infiltrate and plant” dummy improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in places that see high footfall. The decision was taken in the light of the Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) warning of suicide bombings in Delhi, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat over comments on the Prophet made by suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma.

A letter issued on June 16 by DCP (Special Cell) Ingit Pratap Singh stated: “Keeping in view the controversy and recent violent protests over the Prophet Muhammad issue, and Al-Qaeda’s threat of suicide attacks in India over this, police staff should be instructed to develop intelligence inputs to thwart any militant attack/plan.”

Singh further states in the letter, “Staff of Special Cell will randomly infiltrate and plant dummy IEDs at any of the places of high footfall in each district to check alertness of local police staff. As soon as district police detect the dummy IED, regular protocol of handling such device — cordoning (off) the area, using sandbags for buttressing, calling bomb disposal team — must be followed. After completing the exercise, Special Cell staff carrying out the infiltration attempt will be informed by district police. Lower staff should be briefed about the (IED) angle to remain extra vigilant and cautious accordingly.”

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He added, “It is also reiterated that places of high footfall should be monitored, patrolled, and CCTV systems may be checked and monitored regularly. Moreover, an extensive checking to be carried out from 6 pm to 9 pm daily in crowded markets, shopping malls, and mass transportation systems. Special attention must be paid to tenant verification and hotels, guest house checking.”

Security increased outside mosques

Meanwhile, security was increased outside mosques ahead of Friday namaz and DCPs in all 15 districts were asked to make elaborate security arrangements. Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana visited the Central district in the morning to review security arrangements at Jama Masjid, where a brief protest was seen last week.

On Thursday, Special CP (northern zone) Dependra Pathak held a meeting with all DCPs regarding security arrangements. The protest by Congress workers against Rahul Gandhi’s questioning by the ED, recent protests against Nupur Sharma’s remarks about the Prophet,

and the agitation against the Agnipath scheme in parts of the country were discussed.

“All DCPs have been asked to take precautionary measures, keeping in view the sensitivity of the issues. Adequate police arrangements by local police, including women staff, PCR and traffic have been suggested, especially in mixed population areas to handle the situation tactfully. There is a possibility that some people will try to create ruckus and it cannot be ruled out that even a minor incident may create communal tension and affect the law-and-order situation,” a senior police officer said.

DCPs have also been asked to deploy videographers to record any incident.

At Jama Masjid during the day, there was brief sloganeering by a group of people after namaz ended. Announcements were made over loudspeakers to stop sloganeering immediately and that it would not be tolerated within the masjid. People were told that the namaz had ended and they must leave immediately.

Shahzad Khan, member of the Aman Committee, who was present outside the masjid, said members of the committee had appealed to the people to pray peacefully and return: “If they want to protest and have an issue, they should raise it at a proper platform. The Imam is making all efforts to ensure that there is peace. The sloganeering that happened inside was by a few people who are not from here.”

Delhi Police personnel were present inside the masjid and deployed at all gates as well.

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