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Security the watchword for India-WI one-dayer

Security officials will be on a knife's edge as India and West Indies go into the fourth day-night one-day international on Friday in a series marred by crowd disturbance.

india Updated: Nov 14, 2002 21:15 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

Security officials will be on a knife's edge as India and West Indies go into the fourth day-night one-day international on Friday in a series marred by crowd disturbance.

Authorities have made unprecedented security arrangements to prevent rowdy fan behaviour after all three matches so far have been disrupted by the crowd throwing objects onto the ground.

Tuesday's third match in Rajkot, the first of three games being played in Gujarat, was abandoned due to crowd trouble and India won the game on the basis of the Duckworth/Lewis method.

That disruption came after the earlier two games in Jamshedpur and Nagpur were interrupted by poor crowd behaviour.

Police are already on high alert in this main city of the riot-scarred western Gujarat state, which has seen widespread communal violence this year.

"The police department has made all arrangements as the match in Ahmedabad is being held in a different atmosphere," Pramod Kumar, deputy inspector general of police of the capital city of Gandhinagar, told reporters on Thursday.

"We have kept in mind the attack on Akshardham and other terrorist attacks the world over. All precautions are being taken to prevent any anti-national element from disrupting the match."

COMMUNAL VIOLENCE

Police are bracing themselves to prevent a recurrence of religious violence in which more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in revenge killings after nearly 60 Hindus were burned to death in a train by a mob in February.

Last month, two gunmen opened fire and hurled grenades at the vast and popular Akshardham temple, a few kilometres from the Sardar Patel stadium, killing 29 and injuring more than 70 people before being shot dead by commandos.

The old quarter of the nearby Muslim-dominated Ahmedabad city was rocked by more religious clashes earlier this month.

Kumar said around 1,500 policemen, including commandos, would guard the stadium and senior officials would be present in each stand of the stadium expected to be full to its 50,000 capacity.

The unruly crowd behaviour could not have come at a worst time for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has asked the board to explain the incidents and said it was looking to expand its powers to remove international status from such venues.

Gujarat Cricket Association president, Narhari Amin, said the BCCI was concerned over the situation and spectators this time would be thoroughly searched before being let in.

"There will be three-tier security set-up at the entry, inside the stadium and in each stand," he said.

He said videographers would record the spectators and the pictures would be used to spot any mischief-makers.

"Spectators won't be allowed to carry anything at all, mobile phones, water bottles, crackers, lighters etc."

West Indies lead 2-1 in the seven-match series.

First Published: Nov 14, 2002 13:55 IST