Mohali wrapped in unprecedented security blanket

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2011, 17:17 PM IST

Mohali: Crack Special Weapons and Tactics teams (SWT), elite NSG guards and the SPG today took positions at the PCA stadium here in an unprecedented security cover for Wednesday`s World Cup cricket semi-final clash between India and Pakistan which will be watched by their prime ministers.

Anti-aircraft guns have were also placed at strategic positions to ward off any aerial threats during the high voltage match between the arch rivals.

Over 2,200 cops drawn from various districts of Punjab have also been put on duty to ensure a foolproof multi-layered security.

Besides Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani, several dignitories including from Pakistan will be in attendance.

The elite SWT, which was trained by Israeli experts, was raised by Punjab Police last year and comprises 40 personnel. The team is trained to deal with terror attacks like Mumbai carnage in 2008, hostile situations, etc, Deputy Inspector General of Punjab Police, Khubi Ram said.

The over 6-feet tall men were the centre of attraction of a battery of media persons who were outside the stadium as they trooped in armed with latest automatic weapons.

The SWT force uses AK-47, MP-9 machine guns, Swiss-made pistols, Austrian Glock 17 pistols, SIG Rifles and US-made pistols.

Israeli experts trained them in Punjab, Khubi Ram said.

In addition to the Prime Ministers of the two nations, hosts of VVIPs, Bollywood stars and business magnates are coming here to watch the day-night event, dubbed the mother of all cricket matches.

Fifty canines of the CRPF dog squad also were deployed in the stadium as part of beefed up security measures.

"We are ensuring foolproof security to ensure that things pass off smoothly. Traffic diversions have been effected, but we will try to see that there is minimum public inconvenience, but they must also cooperate with us," DIG, Punjab Police, M F Farooqui said.

An Inspector General rank officer of the State Police assisted by many DIGs and five SSPs will be incharge of the security provided by the Punjab police.

Bomb disposal and anti-sabotage teams will also be part of the enhanced security.

Security agencies also conducted intensive checking at the hotels here and Chandigarh and verified the identities of the guests and also conducted a thorough check of their luggage, police sources said.

This morning, one could see a steady streams of Punjab police personnel being deployed for duty in and around the stadium, which has turned into a security fortress.

Multi-layered security has been thrown around the stadium that including personnel from forces as diverse as the Special Protection Group, National Security Guard, Central and State police units.

NSG commandos will join a large number of security personnel to guard the stadium, which will be primarily taken over by the elite SPG.

Unlike yesterday, restrictions were imposed today on the movement of general public around the stadium.

The luxury Hotel Taj in Chandigarh, where the two teams are staying and the City itself has also been brought under tight security cover.

Nearly 1,500 cops have been deployed in and around the Hotel.

PTI