Delhi will be under siege as Games close Thursday
Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell on Wednesday said he was unaware of any new or credible terror threat on the eve of the closing ceremonies and the men's and women's marathon along city streets, but said the games' security detail would investigate.
Police and the military seized improvised explosive devices (IEDs) last week in Jammu city, about 580 kilometers (360 miles) north of New Delhi. It came as a newspaper said the Lashkar e Taiba terror group might be planning an attack.
``We're not aware of any such threat, but having asked the question, we would certainly put our security people on alert ... and check it out,'' Fennell said.
The same group carried out the commando-style attack in Mumbai in November 2008 which killed 166 people. In February of this year, a bombing at a popular cafe in the city of Pune killed 16 people.
In unconfirmed reports, London's Daily Mail newspaper said that Indian intelligence authorities had warned of a militant terrorist plot to attack Delhi on Thursday. It said new intelligence indicated that the Pakistan-based group was targeting attacks in the Indian capital, where 64,000 people were expected to travel to the closing ceremonies.
Delhi will be under siege as Games close Thursday
The Indian military and police seized 10 IEDs hidden in apple wooden boxes in Jammu city, an army officer told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Jammu is the winter capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state The officer said the destination for the explosives was not immediately known.
The Daily Excelsior, an English-language newspaper in Jammu, reported last Friday that ``the possibility that the explosives were to be taken to New Delhi in a bus by one of the militants, who is at large, couldn't be ruled out.''
The explosives were seized from four people, including a police official, who have been arrested, said another police officer, also on condition of anonymity.
Delhi will be under siege as Games close Thursday
Indian authorities have deployed nearly 100,000 police and military personnel in the streets of New Delhi and put fighter jets on standby for the Commonwealth Games. A number of athletes pulled out because of security concerns following a recent shooting at a tourist site.
There are more than 6,000 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories at the games.
Sporting events have previously been targeted in the region. A bomb blast at an Indian Premier League cricket match in April wounded 14 and an attack in Pakistan on the Sri Lankan cricket team's bus en route to a match in Lahore last year giving many athletes concern over attending the games.
Australia's travel advisories ahead of the games indicated that they would be held ``in a security environment where there is a high risk of terrorism.''
Delhi will be under siege as Games close Thursday
Delhi will be under siege as Games close Thursday
The Indian capital will look like a curfew-hit town Thursday as a slew of security and administrative measures will be enforced to ensure a safe Commonwealth Games closing ceremony where Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be the chief guest.
The heart of the city will transform into a restricted area as thousands of police and paramilitary personnel fan out to guard the venue of the high-profile event -- the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
The presence of Rajapaksa, whose military crushed the Tamil Tigers only last year, at the stadium can only add to the security agencies' worries. Giving him company will be Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance.
Traffic to the city centre Connaught Place will be restricted from midnight Wednesday in view of the marathon race set for Thursday morning. The men's hockey final will also take place Thursday. Central and Delhi government offices will be shut Thursday. So will all the main markets.
Delhi will be under siege as Games close Thursday
Schools, colleges and hostels have been already closed for the 12-day Games that began Oct 3. Policemen, many armed with automatic weapons, have stepped up random checking of vehicles across the city, paying special attention to motorists.
"We have been on high alert all these days. We will remain on top alert till the Games end Thursday," Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told IANS. "Our responsibility will continue till the last foreign athlete and official leaves the country safely," he added.
About 7,000 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories have been in New Delhi for the 12-day mega event, the biggest sports event that India hosted after the 1982 Asiad. Although many of them have left India, there will be some 5,000 visitors at the stadium Thursday.
A home ministry official said: "There will be no compromise on security till Thursday. Things have worked well so far. But we won't lower our guard." Delhi's airports will be a no-fly zone during the two-hour closing ceremony from 7 p.m.
The Indian Air Force will monitor Delhi's skies. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will look for air intrusions. Thousands of police and paramilitary forces will be on the roads. Plainclothes personnel have been mingling in markets and residential areas besides bus stands and railway stations.
Thursday will be a day of traffic restrictions. Traffic towards the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will begin at 2 p.m., five hours before the ceremony begins. Patel Chowk and Central Secretariat stations of Delhi Metro will be closed. But Metro trains will ply beyond the usual closing time of 11 p.m. for spectators to return home from the Stadium.
"Our personnel will be on high alert from Wednesday night till the early hours of Friday," Rajan Bhagat told IANS.
Delhi will be under siege as Games close Thursday
CWG closing ceremony tickets sold out
Tickets for the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games were sold out Tuesday night - nearly 48 hours before the actual event Oct 14, an official at the ticketing helpline said. "The tickets in the Rs.750 bracket were sold out quite a long time back. After that, the ones in the Rs.4,000 category were also sold out. Until Tuesday morning, there were only eight tickets available in the Rs.20,000 bracket and around 240 in the Rs.50,000 bracket," the manager said.
"But last (Tuesday) night everything was sold out," he added. The closing ceremony, to be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Thursday, promises to be a spectacular celebration of song and dance with a colourful laser show.
The helpline manager further said that after the great success of the opening ceremony of the Games, they have been bombarded with enquiries about tickets for the closing ceremony. Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be the chief guest at the event.
The sale and availability of the Games tickets have been mired in controversy from the beginning. Spectators have often been told that the tickets have been sold out while the venues remained half-empty.
Commonwealth Games Federation president Michael Fennell had expressed concern over poor spectator turnout, particularly in some disciplines, and had ordered an inquiry.
Delhi will be under siege as Games close Thursday
Shops, offices in Delhi to remain shut on CWG closing
All government offices, shops and commercial establishments in the national capital will remain closed Thursday when the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games is to be held. The union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had June 24 decided that central government offices in Delhi will remain closed Oct 14.
The central government declared holiday as per the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. The Delhi government also declared a holiday Oct 1. "All shops and commercial establishments in Delhi will remain closed on the closing day of the Games. The notification has been issued under the Delhi Shops and Establishments Act, 1954, according to which no deduction can be made from the wages of any employee on account of the holiday," a Delhi government notification said.
According to an official, the central government took the decision to facilitate the movement of traffic and ensure greater participation of public in the closing ceremony. The Delhi High Court and lower courts in the capital will remain closed till Oct 17.
Source: IANS