PM Modi greets citizens on Independence Day

More than 10,000 police personnel have been deployed in and around the Red Fort

red-fort-i-day-pti Preparations in place at the Red Fort ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address on the country's Independence Day, in New Delhi | PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday greeted Indians on the country's 77th Independence Day and paid homage to freedom fighters. He will deliver his 10th consecutive Independence Day address on Tuesday at the historic Red Fort.

"Best wishes on Independence Day. We pay homage to our great freedom fighters and reaffirm our commitment to fulfilling their vision. Jai Hind!" the prime minister said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

There is much anticipation around his Independence Day address – his last, too, before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. He is expected to highlight the achievements of his government, announce schemes and outline his vision for the country's future. It remains to be seen if he will take on the opposition bloc INDIA directly in his speech.

Multi-layer security cover in Delhi

More than 10,000 personnel have been deployed in and around the Red Fort, police said.

Around 1,000 cameras with facial recognition and video analytic systems have been installed in and around the Mughal-era fort and at other strategic locations to ensure security and monitor VVIP movements.

Traffic has also been restricted near the Red Fort till the end of the celebrations.

"Delhi Police is on alert. Elaborate security arrangements have been made, the exercise for which started around three-four months ago. Anti-terror activities have also been done to check the areas in the districts near the venue," Delhi Police spokesperson Suman Nalwa said.

"AI-based facial recognition CCTV cameras have been installed, while anti-drone technology is also being used for security.

"Adequate traffic arrangements have been put in place. The traffic police has also issued an advisory. We urge people to follow the advisory. The borders (of Delhi) have been closed for heavy vehicles from Monday night, while others entering the city are being checked. We are keeping a strict vigil on social media as well," Nalwa said.

The Gyan Path in front of the Red Fort has been decked up with flowers and G20 signage. However, there are no major decorations on the fort's rampart from where the prime minister will address the nation.

The government has invited around 1,800 special guests from across the country to attend the programme. Seventy-five couples from each state and Union Territory, in their traditional attire, have been invited to witness the ceremony.

Sarpanches of vibrant villages, nurses, fisherfolk and labourers engaged in the construction of the Central Vista project are also among the special invitees.

Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) HGS Dhaliwal said all units of the force are on alert.

"All the checks are being implemented with related agencies. It is a big arrangement and all the units are doing their jobs. The G20 summit will take place in three weeks, due to which there is more sensitivity. We had seen that a week before the Republic Day celebration, anti-national and Khalistan-related graffiti appeared on walls in areas of west Delhi. Two people were arrested in this connection," Dhaliwal said.

Keeping in mind the recent violence in Haryana's Nuh and adjoining areas, a strict vigil is being ensured, police said.

Following convention, anti-drone systems have been installed at the Red Fort. All anti-terror measures have been initiated, including the setting up of air defence guns. Snipers, elite SWAT commandos and sharpshooters have been positioned at strategic locations for the security of the prime minister and other VVIP guests.

Thorough checking is being carried out at the borders and the police have warned of strict action against anyone trying to disrupt law and order in the national capital.

The areas surrounding the Red Fort have been demarcated as a "no kite flying zone" till the completion of the programme.

As many as 153 kite catchers have been deployed at strategic locations to intercept kites, police said. Residents of areas near the Red Fort have been asked not to fly kites till the event is over.

A kite had landed just below the podium during PM Modi's Independence Day address in 2017. The prime minister, however, had continued with his speech.

Police on Thursday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in areas such as Rajghat, ITO and Red Fort.

They also prohibited the flying of sub-conventional aerial platforms such as paragliders, paramotors, hang-gliders, unmanned aerial vehicles, microlight aircraft, remotely-piloted aircraft, hot air balloons, small-size powered aircraft, quadcopters, and para-jumping from aircraft over the jurisdiction of the National Capital Territory of Delhi up to August 16.

(With PTI inputs)

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