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Facial recognition deployed in Delhi to foil terror threats ahead of Republic Day

Facial recognition deployed in Delhi to foil terror threats ahead of Republic Day

Police in India’s capital New Delhi say they have deployed a multi-layer security system including more than 300 facial recognition CCTV cameras to put security under control as States and Union Territories prepare to celebrate the country’s Republic Day in a few days, reports ANI. The Republic (Independence) Day celebrations begin on January 23.

Police officials say security is being beefed up ahead of the celebrations after an improvised explosive device (IED) was found at the Ghazipur Flower Market and later deactivated. The facial recognition system being deployed has a biometric database of about 50,000 suspected offenders.

MediaNama (subscription required) notes concerns that Delhi’s Muslim minority will be disproportionally represented among suspects, based on research from the Vidhi Centre for legal Policy.

ANI quotes Deepak Yadav, New Delhi’s Police chief, as saying apart from security concerns, risks resulting from the COVID pandemic are part of the issues the police have to contend with. He said the police personnel have been mobilized and the necessary measures taken to ensure a perfect execution of the extra security directives.

Speaking further, Yadav told ANI they have strengthened efforts regarding the verification of tenants and those visiting hotels in Delhi and its environs, and a rapid intervention team is on standby to respond to any impromptu situation.

“We are also deploying an anti-drone team to keep a watch on any flying object breaching security cordon,” said Yadav, adding that due to COVID and security concerns, event attendance will be limited to around 4,000 people.

Other related reports mention that the extra security has been deployed specifically in the Rajpath area of the capital where the Republic Day celebrations will happen.

This latest move to beef up security in Delhi during the January 26 Independence Day celebrations using biometrics surveillance stem comes amid growing concerns over increasing use of police facial recognition technology in the country, especially over data protection and privacy issues.

Activists have been calling for a review of such deployments.

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