With about 1,500 police personnel, including central and state reserve forces, deployed in and around the venue ahead of the match, the stadium has turned into a fortress even before hundreds of frenzied fans queued up for security checks and frisking to enter the stands.
“In view of the recent blast in the city (April 17) and electioneering for the state legislative assembly polls May 5, we are taking extra measures to ensure foolproof security and prevent any untoward incident that may get undue attention in the city, causing avoidable tension,” a senior police official told IANS at the stadium.
In addition to the unprecedented security cover, a bomb squad and a dog squad have been pressed into service to detect explosive materials and sniff out trouble-makers. Closed circuit television cameras and surveillance systems were also activated to record movement of fans, vehicles and the game in the middle.
Being a government holiday on account of Mahavir Jayanthi (which was celebrated in southern states on Tuesday), vehicular traffic and movement of people in downtown has been 50 percent less than on a normal working day.
“The ongoing Metro rail project work on northern side of the stadium blocking the entire stretch of road, we have banned parking 1 km around the stadium and diverted traffic to other roads to prevent piling up of vehicles and grid lock in the central business district,” Additional Police Commissioner (traffic) Mohammad Saleem told IANS.
Though fans had a tough time in reaching the stadium and parking their vehicles 1 km away on a hot and humid late afternoon, the excitement to watch the shorter version (T-20) of the game made them willingly endure the travails of security checks, traffic snarls and pollution.