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Srinagar turns fortress

By Onkar Singh in Srinagar
May 24, 2006 16:25 IST
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As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh flew into Jammu and Kashmir's capital Srinagar on Wednesday morning, the city has virtually turned into a fortress.

Director-General of Police Gopal Sharma said that after the suicide attacks on a Youth Congress rally on Sunday and paramilitary forces on Tuesday night the state police could not afford to take chances with the prime minister's security.

Dr Singh arrived in the valley on Wednesday morning along with Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz, National Security Advisor M K Naryanan, government interlocutor N N Vohra and senior officials of the home ministry.

Dr Singh will spend two days holding talks with 48 persons from various political parties and is expected to return to New Delhi on Thursday night.

"Well, if we take elaborate security measures, you criticise us and if we don't, we still get the stick," Sharma told

He praised Inspector-General of Police K Rajendran for leading the force by example.

"Even when he was injured he led the boys and kept on directing them till he fell down. He lost a lot of blood and had to be operated on for six hours to repair the damage to his bones and arteries. The first night was an anxious night for us. He is now recovering well," he said.

The identity of the two suicide attackers could not be established.

"They were aged between 24-30 and they were Pakistanis," he said.

As a result of these strikes ahead of the PM's visit, the security was so tight, that the journalists' bus took one and a half hours to cover a distance of 15 kilometers.

At every barricade the media persons were forced to stop and show security passes issued by the state police.

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Onkar Singh in Srinagar