Saturday, September 25, 2010

Finally, cops lock down CWG venues

Even as the Delhi police  remained vague about the exact status of the lockdown of venues, sources claimed the complete lockdown of the Commonwealth Games venues was more or less complete by Saturday midnight. Though security agencies refused to come on record, top police personnel confirmed that the lockdown of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which would host the inaugural and closing ceremonies along with a host of events, was completed by Friday midnight.

Security agencies said they are expecting to complete the lockdown of the Games Village by early Sunday morning. Union home minister P Chidambaram had on September 23 issued a stern warning to organizers to complete the work at stadiums by Friday night and hand them over to Delhi Police, the nodal security agency for the Games, for lockdown at midnight.

Sources at the police headquarters said on Saturday evening that a complete security lockdown of some of the venues, including the Games Village, could be completed in the next few hours. "The work is finally over at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Though we had already locked down the other venues, we believe we can announce the completion of the entire process by Sunday,'' said a senior security officer.

Sources said the security personnel are facing difficulties while guarding the Commonwealth Games Village and other venues due to frequent movement of labourers. Though accreditation of these workers was already completed in bulk, their movement inside the Village is being strictly monitored.

According to them, a complete lockdown should ideally be put in place a month before the event starts. They said there were tight security arrangements and there was no need to worry. The initial plan was to have a lockdown from September 15 but it was extended to September 22 midnight which could also not be met.

There was some commotion near Sewa Nagar near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium after an unclaimed bag was found lying on the road on Saturday evening. Police said it was finally found to be a false alarm.

Meanwhile, the Games Village has become operational without a complete lockdown as athletes have started arriving, the official said. He added that they, however, sanitized the area before the delegates came. "The 30-metre radius around the Village has been sanitized and no one without proper accreditation is being allowed to enter. Many armed policemen, including paramilitary personnel, have been deployed across the stadia and Village. Sophisticated gadgets have also been installed at the stadia,'' he said.

The security has been stepped up across the city after Sunday's firing incident at Jama Masjid in which two Taiwanese nationals were injured. Delhi Police have conducted various drills, including anti-sabotage checks, after they took over possession of the venues, the official said. Concerns were earlier raised over the delay in handing over of venues to security agencies as some quarters felt that it would impede the security preparations.

Delhi Police commissioner Y S Dadwal, however, had played down the delay and said the force was prepared to handle the security issues related to the sporting extravaganza. "We know the stadia and surrounding areas. So securing them or other areas will not be a problem,'' Dadwal had said.

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