Kolkata turned into fortress for cricketers' security

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Kolkata, Nov 27 (UNI) A phenomenal security ring has been clamped in and around the city after an e-mail threatened to trigger a blast during the India-Pakistan Test match commencing at the Eden Gardens from November 30.

The Eden Gardens itself looks like a veritable fortress with more than 60 police officials last night combing the venue and taking guard at all the gates.

CAB Joint Secretary Samar Pal told UNI here today, ''Last night the police officials came and checked every inch of the stadium.

There is a strong posse of policemen around the greens and also at every gate of the stadium. Everyone entering the stadium for the renovation work and otherwise is being frisked. We have also beefed up our internal security system. No one is taking any chance.'' The Kolkata Police top brass held a marathon meeting at the Lalbazar police headquarters last night to finalise the security arrangements. The meeting, headed by Police Commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakraborty, was attended by Joint CPs S N Sarkar, Zulfikar Hasan, Sudhir Mishra and Pradip Chatterjee and Deputy Commissioners Vishal Garg and Vineet Goyel.

The extraordinary bandobast has been initiated after an e-mail landed at a private TV channel office threatening a countrywide terror strike if the Indo-Pak series was not abandoned. The fresh e-mail that came from guru _boys2000@yahoo.com warned of a series of explosions in Chennai, Ghaziabad, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Islamabad and an attack on the Pakistani cricket team.

The two page e-mail, sent from a yahoo server, was received by a private TV channel which forwarded it to the Kolkata Police last evening.

Deputy Commissioner (Headquarters) Vineet Goel also told UNI, ''We know about the e-mail. We have taken all pre-emptive measures, like beefing up the security at the team hotel and all entry and exit points of the city. A special watch has been kept at the cyber cafes also. The Pakistan team arrives as per schedule tomorrow.'' ''At least 7,000 policemen would be deployed for the security of the Pakistani and Indian cricket teams. A very tight security has been planned out for the Pakistani team bus for its entire route from the hotel to the stadium even during practice sessions before the test match,'' a senior police official added.

No one would be allowed to go near any of Pakistani team members, even for an autograph and the fans entry to the stadium during practice sessions would also be curtailed, CAB sources put.

It has been learnt that the entire Pakistan team is scheduled to arrive at Kolkata around 1130 hours. However, Misbah-ul-Haq and Kamran Akmal are scheduled to arrive later as they will be accompanied by their wives.

But how much of 'City of Joy' will they enjoy is a big question, as none of the players will be allowed, it has been learnt, to leave the hotel without gun-totting escorts.

UNI

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