SRINAGAR: Security has been stepped up across Kashmir region ahead of the Independence Day celebrations, in the aftermath of recent attacks by militants in the Valley.
Militants carried out four attacks in Shopian district of south Kashmir and summer capital Srinagar in a span of 12 hours in which 15 persons including five security force personnel were injured.
Police and CRPF personnel have been deployed in strength across the summer capital of the state and vulnerable spots in other major towns of the Valley to thwart any attacks by the militants to disrupt the Independence Day on Saturday, a police official said.
Security forces have set up temporary barricades at several places in the city and elsewhere to check any movement of militants, he said.
Kashmir valley including Srinagar has witnessed a spurt in militant attacks amid reports of a significant number of local youth joining militant ranks, besides attempts by the ultras to sneak into the Valley from across the border over the past few months, causing concern among the security agencies.
A grenade blast outside a mosque in Shopian district of south Kashmir resulted in injuries to 10 persons who were coming out of the place of worship after offering morning prayers.
The militants had planted a similar device outside the house of a Hizbul Mujahideen militant but police detected the device and destroyed it.
Four police and paramilitary personnel including two officers were injured in a grenade attack by militants outside a police station in Khanyar locality of downtown Srinagar last night.
Militants yesterday opened firing on an army patrol resulting in injuries to one soldier.
Earlier this year, the ultras carried out attacks on mobile towers and service providers in Sopore, Bandipora, Handwara in north Kashmir and Srinagar which left two persons dead and several others injured.
Besides, four persons have been killed by militants in Sopore over the past two months, who carried out several grenade attacks as well.
Three hardcore militants of Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit were also killed as security forces stepped up the counter- insurgency operations in Pulwama district of south Kashmir since the beginning of this month.
Various measures have been taken to ensure peace and maintain law and order during the Independence Day functions, the official said.
A thick security blanket has been thrown around vital installations here including Bakshi Stadium - the main venue of the Independence Day function in Jammu and Kashmir, where Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is scheduled to unfurl the national tricolour and take salute at the march past.
The Bakshi Stadium in uptown Srinagar has virtually been sealed by a large contingent of police and CRPF personnel, while special check points have been set up at various places within the city and its outskirts, especially the entry points leading to the capital.
The vehicles are being stopped for frisking of the occupants and frequent searches of pedestrians are also being conducted to ensure that no militants succeed in disrupting the functions, the official said.
The security grid is also relying on modern gadgetry like CCTV cameras and human intelligence to ensure a peaceful Independence Day, he said.
Sharp-shooters are also being deployed in sensitive areas and in this regard high-rise buildings have been identified especially around the Stadium.
There are similar arrangements in place at district headquarters where the functions are scheduled to take place, the official said, adding, security forces have been directed to remain vigilant and intensify checking to keep the militants at bay.
The separatist groups, including both the factions of Hurriyat Conference, have called for boycott of the celebrations and a general strike on August 15.
Meanwhile, full dress rehearsals for the ceremonial function were held at all the district and tehsil headquarters including the Bakshi Staidum this morning.
At the Stadium, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asgar Samoon unfurled the national flag, inspected the parade and took salute at the march past.
The march past was presented by the contingents of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Armed Police, IRP, CRPF, BSF, ITBP, Women Police, State Disaster Response Force, Fire and Emergency Services and schoolchildren of various educational institutions, besides contingents of Forest Protection Force also took part in the march past.
A variety of colourful cultural programmes were presented by students of educational institutions in collaboration with Information, Youth Services and Sports Departments and Cultural Academy of Art, Culture and Languages.