Dhaka Metropolitan Police has announced that its SWAT unit will be deployed to provide security for Mongol Shobhajatra, the traditional rally on the morning of Bangla New Year.
Speaking at a press conference at the DMP Media Centre yesterday, Commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah said police would be focusing on mass celebrations where there were higher risks of terrorist attacks or crimes taking place.
“That’s why we’ve banned on all sorts of open concerts and mass gatherings in open spaces after 5pm but indoor programmes will be allowed,” he said.
Police said the security measures this year will be focused on three venues in the city: Dhaka University, Rabindra Sorobor in Dhanmondi and Hatirjheel in Ramna zone.
Protection will also be provided to small gatherings in the city.
Commissioner Miah announced that no one would be allowed to wear the traditional masks at the Mongol Shobhajatra but participants could carry them in their hands.
People wearing similar looking T-shirts, especially those promoting any product or brand, will also not be allowed to attend the rally.
DMP also advised people accompanied by young children to put a note in their pockets containing their name and address so that if lost, they can be found easily.
Central announcement systems will be set up at the venues to help keep order and find people.
Visitors were advised not to carry equipment that could be deemed harmful, such as nail cutters and matchboxes. Walkthrough archways will be placed at the entrances, police said.
Commissioner Miah expressed his sorrow over the last year’s incidents at Dhaka University.
“We designed our security measures this year by analysing the faults of last year,” he said.
He said police would set up nine watch towers in the Dhaka University area to ensure security during Pohela Boishakh celebrations. At the same time, there will be three CCTV monitoring cells in Shahbagh, Ramna and Suhrawardy Udyan areas.
Gates of Ramna park and Suhrawardy Udyan will be separated into entries and exits, he said.
“But all entry will be closed after 4:30pm. Then you can use all the gates for coming out.”
Vehicle movement will be blocked from Shahbagh, Nilkhet and Shaheed Minar and people will have to enter the area on foot.
No hawkers will be allowed on the streets but some will be allowed inside the Suhrawardy Udyan for the visitors.
No open space mass events will be allowed after 5pm in Dhaka. DMP has also banned vuvuzelas on Pohela Boishakh.
DMP said they would provide security after 5pm people who might be out on the streets but no mass gathering will be allowed.
The commissioner said only the vehicles having Dhaka University stickers will be allowed to enter the campus from 6am, April 13 to 9pm, April 14.
Police have not made any headway into the investigation of sexual harassment of women at Dhaka University campus during last year’s Pohela Boishakh.
Asked if DMP could ensure hundred percent security for the city dwellers and guarantee that no incident would take place this year, the DMP chief said, “Only Allah could guarantee that. We have done our possible best.”