Security tightened

Md Esaraf Hossain

14 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Surrounding the Pahela Baishakh celebration, a massive security blanket has been thrown in and around each public gathering place including Ramna Park, Dhaka University campus and Rabindra Sarobar at Dhanmondi.

As part of the security arrangement, a large number of law enforcers including police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) both in uniform and plain-clothes have been stationed in and around these places, DMP sources said.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said on Saturday there is no security threat centring the Bengali New Year’s celebration.

“There is no specific threat. Besides, detectives’ surveillance is on. No one will be able to create any obstruction to the celebration of Pahela Baishakh programme,” he said while talking to reporters after visiting DMP’s security arrangements at Ramna Park.

He said Pahela Baishakh has now become a kind of national festival and law enforcers have been kept ready across the country so people can observe Pahela Baishakh smoothly.

Cyber Security team is also monitoring social media sites so that no one can spread provocative messages, said the home boss.

During the traditional celebrations of the Bangla New Year at Ramna Batamul in 2001, several blasts near the stage of Chhayanaut killed 10 people and injured around 50 others.

Alongside regular police, RAB, plain-clothes police, bomb-disposal units, dog squads and SWAT team will be deployed, DMP sources said.

Gathering places like Ramna Batamul, Dhaka University campus and Rabindra Sarobar will be under full coverage of closed circuit television cameras, he said.

Security check posts would be set up at the entrances to gathering places.

While talking to reporters earlier on Thursday, DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia requested the organisers to end their programmes by 6pm.

He also requested all, particularly the VIPs, to obey the traffic rules.

The DMP chief said no one will be allowed to wear masks and play Vuvuzela on the day to avert any unpleasant incident.

“The law enforcers will escort the Mangal Shobhajatra to be brought out by the students of Fine Arts Institute of Dhaka University and police will also keep watching the scene from the roof of buildings,” he said.

Besides, law enforcers will put barricades in Nilkhet, Palashi, Shahbagh, Kakrail and Matsya Bhaban areas and no vehicles will be allowed to enter the areas, he added.

Close circuit cameras will be installed in several places including Ramna Park and Rabindra Sarobar, said Asaduzzaman.

People have to pass through archways as well as they will be inspected both manually and electronically while entering the celebration venues.

The DMP also banned carrying of any explosive materials, sharp weapons, bags and metal equipment at the venues.

No open air programme will be allowed after 6pm while the entry at Ramna and Suhrawardi Uddyan will be closed after 5pm, said the DMP Commissioner.

Replying to a question of any security threat, he said, “There is no threat of any attack in the city and the law enforcers have taken necessary measures to take action instantly.”

Meanwhile, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has prohibited carrying any type of bag in Dhaka during Pahela Baishakh celebrations.

Acting Director General (DG) Jahangir Alam made the announcement on Friday at a press briefing after visiting Ramna Park to check security ahead of the Bangla New Year 1426 celebrations.

The main venues, particularly Ramna Park, Suhrawardy Udyan, Dhaka University, Rabindra Sarobar, Hatirjheel, Gulshan Park, Bahadur Shah Park and its surrounding areas will be brought under stringent security arrangements by setting up CCTVs, archways, and watch towers, he said.

To ensure safety and prevent sabotage during Pahela Baishakh, RAB is ready with a large contingent of forces in Dhaka till the program ends, said the acting chief of the elite force.