Security beefed up in R-Day parade area in Kolkata

Kolkata: Security has been beefed up in and around the Republic Day parade venue in Kolkata keeping in mind last year’s incident in which a speeding car barged into the parade rehearsal area on Red Road killing an Air Force officer.

The step was taken following a directive from the State Secretariat for “extra precautionary measures” during Republic Day parade rehearsal on Red Road, a top police officer told PTI today.

“The state government does not want any repetition of last year’s incident. So Kolkata Police has been asked to take extra precautionary measures this year,” the official said, adding, “In fact, the security was beefed up from last year itself after the accident.”

This year’s rehearsals for the Republic Day parade started on January 2 and roads around Red Road, the city’s Maidan and adjoining areas have been kept closed to vehicular traffic, Kolkata Police DC Traffic V Solomon Nesakumar said.

“This year too we have strengthened security around Red Road and its surrounding areas. Multiple guard rails, bamboo barricades and extra number of traffic police have been deployed around the area during the rehearsals,” he said.

Besides metallic guard rails, traffic police vehicles were also parked across necessary points to block vehicular entrance to the parade venue. The number of patrolling vans in and around the parade venue has been increased.

Vehicular movements has been totally prohibited on Hospital Road (East and west), Hospital Road, Lovers Lane, Queensway, Casuarina Avenue, Plassey Gate Road, Khidderpore Road, Red Road, Gosthapal Sarani from 5 AM till 9 AM on rehearsal days, an officer said.

Flanks on AJC Bose Road between Khidderpore Road and D L Khan Road are also likely to be closed for vehicular traffic, he added.

Traffic movement will also be controlled on Strand Road between Gosthapal Sarani and Napier Road, and on R R Avenue (southern flank) between Govt Place East and Govt Place West, as and when considered necessary, the officer said.

“We are not allowing any goods vehicles to ply or stay on St Georges Gate Road and Strand Road. Vehicles to and from the parade venue and from the approaching roads to Red Road during the journey of military personnel have been stopped,” he said.

21-year-old IAF officer Corporal Abhimanyu Gaud was knocked down and killed after being hit by an Audi car during a Republic Day rehearsal parade on the Red Road on January 13 last year.

Sambia, son of former RJD legislator Mohammed Sohrab, was behind the wheels of the Audi, which broke three guard rails and barged into the parade rehearsal before hitting the IAF officer.