A dark shadow is looming large over all the excitement and exuberance of the ongoing season 6 of Indian Premier League (IPL). After receiving general inputs from intelligence agencies that some terrorist groups including Indian Mujahideen may be planning to execute attacks Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) stadium in Gahunje where matches are currently being played, the rural police have upgraded security around the area.
“Intelligence agencies have asked us to take extra security measures for the matches and conduct searches of guesthouses, hotels and people coming to see the games,” said Manoj Kumar Lohiya, superintendent of police, Pune (rural).
He said after the inputs, he has asked personnel posted for ‘bandobast’ outside the stadium to check luggage and other belongings of spectators, and similar instructions have been issued to the private security men appointed by the organisers, posted inside the arena.
A source from one of the intelligence agencies too confirmed to MiD DAY that some terrorist outfits including IM may strike at the stadium, and they may also have assistance from Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Lohiya said that around 400 police personnel including some senior officers have been posted at the stadium to avoid any untoward incident.
Rural police have deployed some cops in plainclothes to keep an eye on spectators coming to the ground, and some cops have been posted at the parking lots to keep tab on vehicles and also manage traffic. “From next year, we will set up bunkers at the main gates, with policemen bearing automatic weapons inside,” added Lohiya.
Meanwhile, Lohiya said that organisers have paid the bandobast fees after the first match, which took place on Sunday. As reported by MiD DAY on April 5 (‘Cops bowl security charges bouncer ahead of IPL game’), unlike last year where the Pune rural police had to work hard to recover the Rs 1 crore bandobast fee, the cops played safe this time and had asked the organisers to clear bills after every match.
400: No of police personnel deployed at the stadium
Blasts from the past
On 17 April 2010, two bombs exploded in a heavily-packed M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, in which fifteen people were injured.
A third bomb was found and defused outside the stadium. According to the Bangalore city police, the blasts were caused by low-intensity crude bombs, and triggered by timers by IM operatives. Following this the IPL match between the home team Bangalore Royal Challengers and Mumbai Indians, started an hour late.