Delhi Metro commuters will henceforth not be allowed to cover their faces using surgical masks or mufflers even as the security-hold area at close to two dozen stations has been expanded in view of the new security drills being deployed to more effectively guard the rapid rail network.
In the wake of a daring heist at the Rajinder Place station on Monday where two unidentified men stormed the control room and looted around Rs 12 lakh cash, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has issued a set of fresh instructions dis-allowing covering of the face by travellers using any kind of cloth or cover like surgical masks, mufflers, ‘dupatta’ or anti-pollution caps.
The two men, also captured on the CCTV, were wearing masks during their entry and exit at the station.
“Only terminally ill or serious patients will be allowed to cover their faces using a mask or cover. Everyone else who uses a cover for a variety of reasons like to beat heat, pollution or for fear of contracting infection will have to remove the face cover while getting frisked.
“The measure was there in place and suspicious people were asked to remove it during frisking but it will now be strictly implemented in all cases. This to ensure that all faces are seen by security personnel and are also captured on CCTV cameras. In case there is an incident, everyone should be identifiable,” officials said.
At close to two dozen stations on the Yellow line (HUDA City Centre-Jahangirpuri) and Blue line (Dwarka Sector 21-Noida City Centre/Vaishali), the CISF has expanded its security apparatus and brought under control large areas under its armed cover.
The force has moved its door-frame metal detectors and baggage X-ray machines closer towards the entry gate which entails passengers being frisked and their luggage being scanned much ahead as compared to the existing protocol.
A senior CISF official said only the security-hold area has been expanded and brought under the view of the security personnel and this measure will not add to any additional hassles or time taken during frisking.
“The measure has been taken keeping in mind the overall security of Metro stations. While close to 24 stations are being brought under the new security mechanism in the first go, the CISF will initiate these at more and more stations as and when the space is obtained,” they said.
The new area domination at the stations, they said, has been executed keeping in mind a last year’s incident when a man sneaked in his luggage through the low height glass partition and then used a gun kept therein to shoot himself at the busy Rajiv Chowk Metro station.
Officials said that after a coordinated analysis carried out by CISF, Ministry of Home Affairs, Delhi Police and Intelligence Bureau, it was decided to cover the station area right from where the tokens are sold to commuters and from where the “paid and un-paid” area get separated by a glass wall, at most of the about 150 stations of Delhi Metro in National Capital Region (NCR).
At a number of stations, the height of the glass partition is also gradually being increased to about 6 feet so that no exchange of goods take place even as the force is deploying its personnel in ‘mufti’ as spotters to keep an eye on miscreants active in these areas.
Close to 5,000 CISF men and women are deployed to secure the stations operational in the national capital and its neighbouring cities of Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad and Gurgaon.
About 26 lakh people use the rapid rail network everyday to travel to their destinations in these areas and security drills are constantly changed keeping in the mind the dynamics of the network.