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Fortress city all set for finals

Debasish Panigrahi, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 01, 2011
First Published: 23:30 IST(1/4/2011) | Last Updated: 23:31 IST(1/4/2011)

The scale of security at the Wankhade stadium for the ICC World Cup final match on Saturday will probably go down in history as the largest ever by the Mumbai police.


The elaborate arrangement has dwarfed the security exercise during US president Barack Obama’s visit to the city in November last year.

For one, the protected zone for the final match essentially involves the whole of the city and its neighbourhood, while for the presidential visit it was essentially south Mumbai.

“I am witnessing this kind of security arrangement for the first time in my life,” said Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik.

He went on to add that the arrangement involved not only the Mumbai police, but also the Maharashtra police, the Anti Terrorism Squad, several central agencies like the National Security Guard and the Central Industrial Security Force.

Nearly 5,000 security men with sophisticated arms and small firearms have been deployed to maintain a strict vigil at the venue, which is surrounded by armed troop carriers and bulletproof vehicles.

Anti-aircraft guns will be also strategically placed. The Indian Navy and Coast Guard have been put on high alert to thwart any possible air or sea-based attack. The airspace over and around the stadium has been declared a 'No Flying Zone'.

The visit of Indian President Pratibha Patil and Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa has also led to tight security. 

What makes the task even more onerous is the fact that Rajapaksa, features high on the LTTE radar.

The presence of several high profile dignitaries, including the SPG-protected Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, has further complicated the security scenario.

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