Shivaji Park area turns fortress for anniversary

With the 55th death anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar clashing with the 20th of Babri Masjid demolition, police have wrapped Shivaji Park and other parts of the city in a security blanket.

"Nearly 1,200 policemen will be on duty at Shivaji Park under the supervision of an additional commissioner and three deputy commissioners Thursday. The quick response team, state reserve police force and riot control police have also been deployed," said Sadanand Date, joint commissioner of police (law and order).

Apart from the thousands of Ambedkar followers who are flocking to Chaityabhoomi, police are worried about a temporary structure at Shivaji Park where Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray was cremated.

They are also wary of a threat by Taliban of a reprisal for the hanging of 26/11 gunman Ajmal Kasab on Babri demolition anniversary.

The multiple threats were discussed at length at a crime conference held by police commissioner Satyapal Singh at Azad Maidan Police Club Tuesday.

"We are fully aware of the threat perception. Adequate and sustained anticipatory measures have been taken," said a senior police officer.

The traffic wing has closed several roads around the ground, while some have been declared one-ways.

Meanwhile, BMC has put up a pandal of 30,000 square feet for Ambedkar followers. The pandal would offer drinking water, temporary accommodation, washrooms and first aid. In addition, about 30 mobile toilets have been installed.

"BMC workers will work round-the-clock in shifts to ensure cleanliness is maintained in the (Shivaji Park) area. Dustbins have been placed at multiple locations to ensure cleanliness," said a ward-level official.

The civic administration has also set up control rooms in L ward office and Ambedkar residence Rajgriha, besides information and medical centres at the ward office, Dadar station and Swami Narayan Temple. It has also made arrangments for 450 temporary stalls by vendors.

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