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Police fear air attack on players during World Cup

Saturday, 26 February 2011 - 2:01am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

There will be two dummy vehicles, similar in size and colour, in the convoy to mislead criminals.

Given the tight security arrangements at the ground level, the city police fear that there may be an airborne attack on cricket players during the ongoing World Cup.

Hence, they have decided to include two dummy vehicles in the convoy ferrying them to and from Wankhede Stadium to mislead anti-social elements.

The police want to ensure there is no repeat of the March 2009 incident, wherein gunmen attacked Sri Lankan cricket players on their way to Gaddafi Stadium in Pakistan.

On Friday, the police had a meeting with all security stakeholders to discuss arrangements during the matches. The main concern was an airborne attack.

“Technology has developed so much that we fear criminals may use para-jumping to attack players. We have discussed how air attacks can be averted. We are also speaking with central authorities to get military or plain helicopters,” said an officer.

A senior police officer said that the main players’ convoy will consist of three vehicles, similar in colour, size and design. It will take the players from their hotel to the stadium and back. “One vehicle will be occupied by players, while the other two will be used as dummies to mislead terrorists,” said an official.

The route from the hotel to the stadium will also be screened. Policemen will accompany hotel staffers when they purchase vegetables and other food items for players.

“The security of players and spectators is our top priority. We studied the video of the attack on Sri Lankan players. We are hosting two matches and also the final. We are confident about the security arrangements,” a senior police officer said.

Additional police commissioner (south region) Naval Bajaj refused to disclose details about the meeting, saying it was an internal meeting and the police will brief the media soon. According to a senior police officer, the police have studied incidents across the world involving sportspersons, the security arrangements and the different responses to disaster situations.

Officials further told DNA that they will install concealed closed-circuit television cameras at crucial locations in the city. These will be connected to the control room at Wankhede Stadium.

Buildings adjoining the stadium will also be screened. Dustbins on roads around the stadium will be checked thoroughly to make sure explosive materials are not placed in them.

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