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Netas' presence not spectators' delight

india Updated: Mar 30, 2011 09:08 IST
Ashutosh Sharma
Ashutosh Sharma
Hindustan Times
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The anticipated joy and excitement could easily turn into a nightmare for spectators during the high-voltage India-Pakistan clash, thanks to the presence of political bigwigs from both countries. The stringent security measures thrown in and around the city are certain to add a dash of anguish to spectators' experience.

As it is, the stadium has been literally turned into a garrison, what with the overwhelming presence of Special Protection Group (SPG), dog squads, police and other security agencies.

Besides being patted down at least four times before making it to their seats, the fans will need to get inside the stadium much before the scheduled start of play.

The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) has assured the presence of political dignitaries won't sour the experience of the spectators. "As all roads leading to the stadium will be blocked, we request fans to start coming in early and take their seats by 1pm. The gates will be opened for public from 10:30am," said PCA joint secretary GS Walia.

Walia said interests of spectators haven't been compromised to accommodate the top leaders and entourage accompanying them. "No box has been vacated. The PCA has vacated its own centre box to accommodate the Prime Ministers, and their entourage will be adjusted elsewhere," he said. "All genuine ticket holders will sit as per plan," he said.

House arrest
People living close to the stadium will be virtually under house arrest. "We can't take risk. We will station armed men on the roof-tops of the nearby houses to keep an eye on the activities in and round the stadium," said Mohali SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar.

"Our privacy will be invaded. I know the match is important, but we would have expected more sanity in dealing with those living close by," said a disgruntled resident.