Saturday, July 17, 2010

Delhi Police wants 25,000 Games passes

Delhi Police has demanded an astounding 25,000 passes to provide security at Commonwealth Games' venues, flummoxing the Organizing Committee (OC).

According to sources in the sports ministry, the cops have refused to scale down their demand for passes. The OC believes they are asking for too many considering the Capital's combined stadium capacity is 1,60,000 or so, with Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium accounting for 60,000.

At last week's GoM meeting, OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi objected to the police demand saying it would limit entry for the common man. Sports minister MS Gill supported him saying there should be a fine balance between security and public attendance. Both insisted the demand was unacceptable. Where will the public go? they asked. Delhi Police refused to answer.

With the cops refusing to budge, OC wrote to home secretary GK Pillai to assess security needs and say if the police demands were genuine.

On Saturday, Pillai reviewed security arrangements for JLN Stadium's VIP enclosure, frisking points and entry and exits.

By all accounts, the Centre has a tough task balancing the police view with that of the Games' organizers.
The cops have been frequently accused of “extorting” passes from organizers of sports and cultural events in the city. However, in this case, they can cite the high risk of terrorist attacks at Games venues.

Intercepts of terrorist chatter suggest there may be a plot to target the Games with LeT sleeper cells under pressure to to stage a "spectacular".

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