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Rediff.com  » News » In PHOTOS: Guns, cameras, action at battleground Mumbai

In PHOTOS: Guns, cameras, action at battleground Mumbai

Last updated on: April 1, 2011 08:24 IST

Guns, cameras, action at battleground Mumbai

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N Ganesh
Against the backdrop of terror threat, a thick security blanket has been thrown around Mumbai, turning it into a fortress, ahead of Saturday's World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka at the Wankhede stadium.

In fact, the Maharashtra government has gone a step ahead and declared April 2 a public holiday heeding to the Mumbai police's request. This will reduce considerably the number of people travelling to south Mumbai, a hub of corporate and government offices. Thus it will help the police in crowd management.

Moreover, with Saturday being a holiday, the police personnel deployed during the state assembly sessions at Vidhan Bhavan will be utilised to supplement the security in and around the stadium.

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With inputs from PTI

Image: Rapid Action Force personnel at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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President Pratibha Patil and her Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa will watch the match at the 32,000-capacity stadium, making the venue more security-sensitive.

Apart from the Mumbai police, teams of National Security Guards, Maharashtra's elite Force One, Rapid Action Force, State Reserve Police Force and Quick Response Team are maintaining strict vigil at the stadium, the venue of the grand finale of cricket's biggest extravaganza. Other parts of the city are witnessing strict security checks and intensified nakabandis.

Image: Security beefed up at the stadium ahead of Saturday's WC finals
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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Guns, cameras, action at battleground Mumbai

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Airspace over and around stadium has been declared a no-fly zone. However, it will not affect the commercial flights from and to Mumbai, as the stadium does not come in their flight path. A no-fly zone may only affect the movement of private and defence helicopters.

Over 180 CCTVs have been installed by the stadium authorities inside and outside the stadium, and a special police control room has been set up to keep a watch on the spectators, said Deputy Police Commissioner (operations) Rajkumar Vhatkar.

Image: Mumbai police on high alert
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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Guns, cameras, action at battleground Mumbai

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Central Industrial Security Force will frisk spectators entering the stadium and the State Reserve Police Force will guard the periphery. Neighbouring Thane and Navi Mumbai police personnel will back up the city police.

Helicopters for surveillance, marine commandos and Indian naval base in south Mumbai will be on standby. All entry points from the sea will be sealed on the day.

Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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Guns, cameras, action at battleground Mumbai

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The Mumbai police have declared 1.5 km around Wankhede stadium an 'anti-sabotage zone' where only people with valid tickets will be allowed, making areas like Marine Drive out of bounds. Spectators coming into the stadium will have to alight near Nana Nani Park, about 2 km from the stadium and take special public transport buses to the venue.

The police have appealed to spectators to opt for public transport instead of private vehicles. Those coming for the match in private vehicles can park their vehicle near Inox Mall at Nariman Point.

Image: Home Minister RR Patil meets para-military forces deployed at the stadium
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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Guns, cameras, action at battleground Mumbai

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The police have been coordinating with the residents living near Wankhede for the last three days and have advised them not to park their vehicles on the roads after Friday evening. The residents have been offered parking space at Cooperage Ground and Nana Nani Park opposite Wilson College. Any vehicle, which is found parking on the road after the Friday evening deadline will be towed away, the police have warned.

Spectators coming for the match can park their vehicle near Inox Mall at Nariman Point.

"The scale of security around Wankhede stadium is unprecedented. This is something which we have not seen in the last three decades," said Sunaina Sadarangani, a resident of D Road, which is a stone's throw away from the stadium.

Image: Marine Drive will be out of bounds for those who do not have ticked to the finals
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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Guns, cameras, action at battleground Mumbai

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A multi-layer security will be in place around the two-km radius area of the stadium during the match. Outside food items will not be allowed in the stadium. Police are also worried that a "chemical bomb" could be used by the terrorists, so the water bottles from outside would not be allowed at the match, a police official said on the condition of anonymity.

When asked, DCP Vhatkar said, "Water bottles from outside will not be allowed due to security reasons and drinking water arrangement has been made inside."

Image: Security check at the Wankhede stadium
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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There will be thousands of security personnel at the stadium and even they will be under scrutiny. Security guards manning the 1.5 km arearound Wankhede have been ordered to stop police if they do not have authorisation to proceed further.   

Though the previous two matches at the stadium -- New Zealand vs Canada (March 13) and New Zealand vs Sri Lanka (March 18) -- went off without a hitch, police are much more worried about the final, following inputs about possible terror strikes, said an official.

Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
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