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More security than for Obama

mumbai Updated: Apr 02, 2011 01:16 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times
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The scale of security provided for the World Cup final to be played at Wankhede stadium on Saturday will probably go down in history as the biggest-ever organised by the Mumbai Police.

The mammoth security arrangements have dwarfed that extended during US President Barack Obama's historic visit to the city in November 2010 on may counts.

While Obama's visit was essentially a heightened protocol affair, security for the World Cup final match is an extremely complex and elaborate affair.

The Mumbai Police have called upon all state and central agencies for help to protect the entire city while India battles with Sri Lanka to lift the Cup. Obama's security cover was restricted to south Mumbai.

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

He added that the state police, Anti-Terrorism Squad, several central agencies like the National Security Guard and Central industrial Security Force. Even the country's defence forces — the Army, Navy and Air Force, are pitching in.

In anticipation of the VVIP flights, the airport has suspended runway repairs on Saturday.

The presence of President Pratibha Patil and her Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa, who features high on the LTTE radar, at the stadium has necessitated stringent security measures.

Moreover, the presence of several high-profile dignitaries, including Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party senior leader Nitin Gadkari, has further complicated the security scenario. In addition each player and the support staff of both cricket teams too have to be provided tight security.