Police beef up security measures ahead of Goa Carnival

Panaji, Feb 5 (IANS) Having dealt with a number of terror scares in the last few weeks, Goa Police have formed special teams equipped with video cameras to record any suspicious goings-on at the Goa Carnival which starts on Saturday.

“The teams will be on foot as well as on bikes. Anything suspicious or an untoward activity will be recorded by them and action taken swiftly,” Goa’s Inspector General of Police Sunil Garg told reporters on Wednesday.

Goa Carnival draws its roots from the state’s colonial Portuguese legacy and is held every year in February before the holy season of Lent.

It involves parades of brightly coloured floats, with masqueraded dancers and indulgence in food, drink and general merriment, and is led by the portly figure of King Momo, who symbolically opens the festivities.

“Security has also been beefed up considerably for the event. We have pressed in two platoons of our police personnel for law and order during the carnival events in South Goa too,” Garg said.

Police in Goa have in the last few weeks had to deal with a number of cases of suspected terrorist threats.

In January, they investigated a postcard with “ISIS initials” which threatened Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar with dire consequences following their alleged “anti-beef” policies. After a thorough probe, the police said the letter was a “prank”.

The police and the National Investigating Agency (NIA) officials are currently quizzing a 44-year-old chartered accountant Sameer Sardana who was arresed on February 2 for suspicious activity.

Several passports have allegedly been found in the possession of Sardana, who is a son of a retired Major-General in the Indian Army.

According to Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, Sardana’s movements and activities were suspicious, but the police did not find anything incriminating.

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