Cops in mufti, three-tier security at Jaipur lit fest

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    Jaipur, (IANS) Over 60,000 people, including 260 authors from across the globe, are expected to gather at the Jaipur Literature Festival starting Friday. But among them also will be cops in plainclothes as three-layered security is in place after threats over the proposed – though uncertain – visit of author Salman Rushdie.

    Officials said this is the first time such security arrangements have been made at one of Asia’s biggest literature festivals which will unfold at Diggi House Jan 20-24.

    “The security has been stepped up due to the intelligence alert sounded by central intelligence agencies following Rushdie’s proposed visit,” a senior police officer here told IANS.

    He added that three-layered security has been put in place and every visitor is being scanned.

    “Visitors will be scanned at three different points during entry. However, efforts are being made to make it hassle-free as free roaming is the USP of this event,” said the officer.

    He added that the Rajasthan government had received a security alert after threats were issued by banned organisation Students Islamic Movements of India (SIMI) over the Rushdie visit.

    “The threats are quite serious and are being taken seriously by us,” said the officer. He added that the main part of the security system will be policemen in plainclothes.

    “These policemen will keep a watch on suspicious activities and visitors. Besides, the registration record of the visitors is also being scanned,” said the officer.

    Besides, metal detectors have been set up at entry points which will be in place throughout the five days of the fest for the first time. CCTVs have also been installed at strategic locations.

    About 135 interactive sessions featuring 258 authors have been scheduled during the fest.

    “We had organised a meeting of Muslim organisations and police Thursday evening at the Muslim Musafirkhana here. The organisations have agreed to withdraw their protest if the author doesn’t turn up,” said the officer.