Spl Delhi Police squad for Olympic Torch protection

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New Delhi, Apr 15: The Delhi Police have formed a special squad of about 500 armed personnel, comprising young boys and girls, for deployment along the Rajpath in the guise of sportspersons to protect the Olympic Torch flame from Tibetan protestors who have gathered here in large numbers to disrupt the relay on April 17.

Sources said the government does not want to leave anything to chance and has taken all security measures to prevent the repeat of Paris and London incidents where even the flame had to be put out. They said at least four trained personnel -- two men and as many women -- would be deployed at various points along the 3.5-km run from Vijay Chowk to India Gate. ''They are young but highly trained to deal with any situation...they are good at unarmed combat and are good shooters as well,'' the sources pointed out.

A security drill of these personnel was successfully conducted at the venue today.

The sources said the personnel would be well armed and given clear directions that nobody should be allowed to come near the Torch.

They said the Delhi Police had ordered special track suits and sports shoes for these boys and girls so that they could easily pass off as athletes and in the process ensure foolproof security to the Olympic Torch which would arrive here from Islamabad.

Hundreds of Tibetans had already gathered in the national capital ahead of the Torch relay and have been holding massive demonstrations here for the past several days now.

The protestors received a shot in the arm after India told China that it will not prevent the Tibetans from holding demonstrations in the country as long as they do not break the law.

At the same time, New Delhi assured Beijing that the security of the Olympic Torch was its responsibility and it would take all steps to ensure a safe and secure passage for the flame in India.

Meanwhile, the government has also called in the National Securirty Guard (NSG) to provide close protection to the Torch. The BLack Cat commandos would be part of the ''cage'' to protect the Torch from disruption. Instead of using high powered pistols or sub-machines guns which they usually carry to protect VVIPs, the Black Cats will use their muscle power to ''muscle out'' protestors.

The idea would not be to kill or maim the protestors but to keep them at bay, sources explained.

Trained in unarmed combat, the NSG commandos, in their black overalls, will use their bare hands to protect the Torch.

Armed uniformed personnel of the Central Reserve Police (CRP) and Delhi Police will form the second and third tier of the security cordon, the sources claimed.

The 3.5 km run would begin from the Rashtrapati Bhavan/Vijay Chowk and conclude at India Gate. The general public will be kept away from the event. The Torch, on its round-the-world trip, would reach here from Islamabad.

The Tibetan government in exile has maintained that it was against the disruption of the Torch relay. But at the same time it clarified that some people (the protestors) did not agree with their stand.

''Those disrupting the relay do not have our support. But people are free not to agree with our stand in a democratic society,'' Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile Prof Samdhong Rinpoche said here last Thursday.


UNI

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