MOHALI, INDIA — Almost 2,200 Indian police officers were deployed on Sunday near the Punjab Cricket Association stadium in the city of Mohali ahead of the World Cup semifinal match between arch-rivals India and Pakistan which will be attended by Prime Ministers from both nations.
According to Press Trust of India, security personnel also positioned themselves on the rooftops in the adjoining buildings of the stadium to maintain strict vigil. Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police, Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, said that anti-sabotage teams, mounted police, 150 CCTV cameras, bomb disposal and sniffer dog squads would also be in place for Wednesday’s match.
Nearly 1,200 police officers were deployed around Hotel Taj, which is about 12 km from the stadium, where the two teams are staying.
Over 16,000 match tickets were sold in less than two days in the 28,000-capacity stadium while the rest were to be distributed to officials and guests.
Cricketing ties between the two countries were suspended in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. Pakistan’s official announced on Sunday that Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani will visit India at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Dr. Manmohan Singh to watch the cricket match.
The invitation for the match came just ahead of the Interior Secretary-level talks between both countries, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. According to officials, the talks, the first since the attacks, will discuss terrorism, humanitarian issues, removal of visa restrictions and cooperation to fight drug trafficking.
The November 26 attack in Mumbai was executed by ten Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives which arrived by sea. The group divided in two and carried out an unprecedented attack for 60 hours at the Hotels Taj Mahal and Oberoi-Trident and Jewish outreach centre Nariman House in South Mumbai.
Overall, the terrorists killed 166 people and injured 238 others. Nine of them were killed by Indian security forces after the siege. The attacks caused damages worth around $34 million.