More reports on: Government policies

15,000 CCTVs for Obama, none for India's billions: HC

17 January 2015

The Delhi High Court has chided the central and Delhi governments and the Delhi Police over the move to install 15,000 CCTV cameras to secure the capital for US President Barack Obama's visit, but failing to act when it comes to problems faced by the common man in the country in the light of the increasing number of crimes in the capital.

The HC noted that the government has been sitting on several court orders directing them to increase number of CCTVs across Delhi, but agreed to do it in weeks for the US President.

"Because of a foreign President you do it, but not for Indian citizens. If we direct you to do it for Indians, you do in months and years, else you do it in weeks!," a bench of Justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva remarked.

So "let's get someone from outer space," a bench added.

The judges' observations came when amicus curiae Meera Bhatia informed the court that Delhi will get 15,000 extra CCTV's during Obama's visit.

Bhatia was appointed amicus to monitor the measures taken by the administration in making Delhi safer for women following the Nirbhaya gang rape.

The bench was hearing an application seeking the court's directive that the cameras being put up for the American President's security be kept permanently in the capital in the light of several incidents like the 16 December gangrape case.

The HC issued notices to the centre, the Delhi government and city police and sought responses on whether the cameras would be removed after Obama's visit.

The court also remarked, "It will take them years to remove it, if it is not vandalized before that."

Meanwhile, Zee News reported that ahead of Barack Obama's visit to India for Republic Day celebrations, the US had called for the closure of all restaurants and hotels on the Delhi-Agra highway to ensure full-proof security for the world's most powerful President.

At a meeting yesterday between an advance liaison team of the US secret service and Indian security agents, US officials raised concern that terrorists might target the Delhi-Agra Highway, which president Obama would take to travel to the Taj city.

According to sources, US agents had expressed concern that restaurants and hotels on the route might be targeted by terrorists.

The concerns led US officials call for complete sanitisation and shutting down of all restarurants at least one day prior to 27 January, when Obama with wife Michelle would visit Agra to see the Taj Mahal.

US secret service agents had also asked their Indian counterparts to prepare emergency exit routes and dummy routes for president Obama's entourage.

Delhi police commissioner BS Bassi, meanwhile, today chaired an inter-state co-ordination meeting along with police officials from Ghaziabad, Noida, Sonipat, Gurgaon, Jhajjar and other nearby areas over security during the visit.

Police officials have been instructed to sanitise border areas and keep tabs on known criminals.

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