The threat of a terrorist attack on its elite athletes training for the 2010 Commowealth Games and foreign coaches —however improbable that might seem — has prompted the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala authorities to move court seeking armed protection. NIS executive director LS Ranawat has filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions to the state government for deploying armed personnel inside the campus.
He has stated that there are various national camps currently under way in the campus where hundreds of athletes along with scores of foreign coaches are busy preparing for the Games.
NIS advocate, Arvind Moudgil, told HT: “We have approached the court keeping in mind the current security scenario in the country. As top athletes and many foreign coaches are stationed at NIS, we cannot take any chances.” It may be recalled that HT had published a report in June this year highlighting the threat to NIS campers. In fact, Ranawat had quoted the HT report in his letter to SSP, Patiala, seeking security for the campus. Since no action was taken then, the NIS authorities were left with no option but to approach the court.
According to Moudgil, earlier there was a civil litigation between SGPC and NIS over a disputed land occupied by the former, pursuant to a decree passed in SGPC’s favour.
The issue is still being heard and the next hearing is in February 2009. Further, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two parties at the insistence of the court whereby SGPC agreed to make an opening in the peripheral wall of the occupied land on both sides of the road.
This was done, as the area occupied by the SGPC was the only access to the newly constructed girl's hostel at one end and the staff quarters and coaches accommodation at the other.
But because of the openings in the wall, there has been a free flow of outsiders into the NIS campus. NIS contends that despite their best efforts, they cannot provide round-the-clock armed security to its campers and prevent anti-social elements from entering the campus.