Saturday, February 11, 2006

Big brother in India...

Srinagar, February 10: THE J-K police has turned to the intelligent digital monitoring system in its fight against the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir. And in its first phase, the police is setting up close-circuit surveillance cameras at all the strategic points of Srinagar and Jammu cities.

‘We are setting up these cameras throughout Jammu and Kashmir,’’ said a senior J-K police officer. ‘‘Initially, we will cover Srinagar and Jammu cities. In the next phase, these cameras would be installed in all the major towns of the state.’’ The police, in its first experimental stage, has set up 25 special fish-eye close-watch cameras on the tactical sites of Civil Lines city. And if the results are encouraging, the police plans to instal these hidden cameras in the congested downtown locality of Srinagar city as well. ‘‘These (surveillance cameras) are very good,’’ a senior police officer said. ‘‘We will soon set up another 30 cameras in downtown (in Srinagar). The installation is in progress in Jammu city also.’’

The special hidden cameras set up at a height of 40-50 feet are connected to the recording unit set up at a secret location in Srinagar. A separate control room has been set up for the purpose. The footage is being monitored round-the-clock by senior police officials and can be automatically recorded and saved on a storage card for a period of six months, which police could use to identify a suspect.

‘‘These cameras are specially designed for surveillance,’’ said a police officer. ‘‘These (cameras) can zoom in on a person, hundreds of metres away from the camera in all the directions.’’ The secret surveillance cameras keep 24-hour vigil and are functional during the night as well.

‘‘These cameras can monitor movements in the dark also,’’ the police officer said. Though some of the cameras have been installed in the open along the busy Residency and Maulana Azad road of Srinagar, the police says there are also large number of hidden cameras installed in the city. ‘‘A good number of such cameras are not visible. These would help the police keep a check on the movement of suspected militants’’. The setting up of surveillance cameras in winter capital Jammu is already in progress and the police plan to instal more such hidden cameras in other major towns and vital installations of the state.

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