Guwahati lays down multi-layered security

 With nearly 5000 sportspersons, officials and delegates from eight countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan participating in the 12th South Asian games to be held in Guwahati and Shillong from February 5, a multi-layered security arrangement has been put in place with the Indian Air Force maintaining air surveillance, creation of no fly zones and games venues and team hotels being guarded by Special Forces.

This is for the first time that an international sporting event of such magnitude in happening in Northeast India, a region that shares borders with five neighbouring countries.

“We are aware that there are lot of countries participating and there is a threat perception. We have done a series of threat analysis and we can say that right now there is no direct threat to the games but we are taking no chances. Security profiling of the participating nations has been done and special security cover has been arranged,” said Police Commissioner of Guwahati Mukesh Agarwal.

Apart a from regular forces, the Centre has provided 45 companies of central forces, five more companies from India Reserve Battalions (IRBS) from other Northeastern states have been brought up. The Assam Police has pulled in 5000 additional forces.

“Special forces will be placed in strategic locations to tackle any sort of terror threat,” Agarwal added.

Force multipliers like unmanned Aerial vehicles like drones are already being used, sources added.

Meanwhile, IAF sources have confirmed that Air force choppers will keep surveillance over every venue, training facility and hotels. The elite Garud commandos of IAF have been sent in for quick action in case of any potential terror threat, sources further added.

“A multi-pronged security arrangement has been made. Since the games are happening in both Guwahati and Shillong, both Assam Police and Meghalaya police are maintaining coordination with Central agencies. We also have the SPG looking at VIP security. Security plans have been divided in 26 sectors, the priority sectors are the games venues and the hotel where the teams and the delegations will be staying,” Agarwal stated.

Meanwhile teams from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan reached Guwahati under huge security cover on Wednesday.

Since there is no separate games village, 86 hotels will house the participants, officials, journalists, etc.

Games which will feature 23 disciplines. Guwahati will host 16 disciplines and men's football while Shillong with host six disciplines and women's football. The participating countries are India, Maldives, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bhutan.

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