Hours after their triumph over a dreaded and elusive foe, the elated and euphoric Americans were visibly jittery about the global repercussions of their victory on Monday.
Fearing a backlash against its citizens after covert US forces gunned-down Osama Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader and the man who, with his diabolic 9/11 attacks, invited the US’ wrath and single-handedly triggered the global war on terror more than nine years ago, American establishments in the capital were on the edge.
“The entire world is worried about the repercussions of the incident. We have no alternative but to be overly cautious. We have not only stepped-up security arrangements but have also cancelled pre-scheduled field trips and other outings keeping the safety of our children in mind,” said Dr Robert W. Wetzel, director of the American Embassy School located in central Delhi’s high-security diplomatic enclave at Chanakyapuri.
Suspending all school outings till May 27, when the school closes for summer vacations, the administration sent out
an email to the parents of all students soon after international media reports, claiming that the 54-year-old Al Qaeda chief had been shot dead, started trickling into Indian newsrooms.
Meanwhile, several Delhi Police PCR vans and riot control vehicles could be seen patrolling the immediate vicinity of the American Embassy on Shanti Path.
The embassy had ironically hosted an interaction between the US Ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman on April 29.
“Though we have not been specifically asked to provide special security arrangements after the events in Pakistan, we are on guard and will ensure that no untoward incident takes place,” said a senior Delhi Police officer requesting anonymity.
Police sources said additional officers had been deployed on Shanti Path, Chandragupta Road and around Barakhamba Road to keep law and order situation at the American Embassy, the American Embassy School and the American International Centre, under control.
However, despite its unofficial resolve to keep things under control, the police refused to step forward and provide security to American nationals residing in the capital.
“We can’t go to each home where American nationals are staying and stand guard outside their door, can we? We have made adequate arrangements keeping the developments in mind; our focus is more on pre-empting any sort of backlash on American establishments in the city instead of turning it into a police state,” the officer said.