Security men lined the streets. Helicopters crisscrossed the sky. Snipers stood on guard at strategic rooftops.
People stayed away; and the Commonwealth Games road races began.
Held on the wide, tree-lined streets of a refurbished Connaught Place on Sunday, the event may have been a visual treat for TV viewers, but the cyclists were disappointed by the lack of spectators as an unprecedented security blanket turned the area into a ghost town.
“Everything went according to plan and without the slightest hitch,” said Rajan Bhagat, spokesperson, Delhi Police. “The deployment comprised a sizeable population of our own officers in addition to officers from eight other states and units of the ITBP, CISF, CRPF and NSG.”
In effect, more than 15,000 security personnel guarded the event — that’s one man (holding a gun) at every metre of the 14km route. And if the barricades, the security force and the traffic diversions on the ground weren’t enough, there were undisclosed pairs of ‘eyes in the sky’ too. “Snipers were positioned at various rooftop locations and a number of choppers provided support,” a senior police officer said. Shops remained closed and shopper stayed away.