Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Terror threat to Commonwealth Games 2010

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

As if under preparation of venues for the Commonwealth Games 2010 wasn't enough, now a terror threat looms over the fate of the games. Indian Olympic Association which is sending jitters across the nation with its delay in preparations now has to look freshly into the terror threats. There have been rumours that English team might pull-out of the games citing specific intelligence inputs of a possible terror strike during the games.

Now the question is how serious is this threat? From a larger perspective looking at the global scenario, terror strikes are as common as national flags across countries and continents. The Indian Sub-Continent might be the hot bed of terror but there is no guarantee that London, Madrid and New York have full proof security system running. Post 26/11 the Indian security forces have been on high alert and statistics show nothing major has happened in the past 13 months.

It would be quite impractical to think that the government will be taking any chances with the security of the athletes and the officials during the mega sporting event. There have been major terror threats on all major sporting events in the last decade and the Commonwealth Games should not be seen in isolation. Equating the Indian security situation with that of Pakistan can be a grave mistake because Pakistan seems to be in a bigger mess than the one it wanted India to be in.

Coming back to the question of the English team pulling out of the tournament, well our colonial masters haven't come out of their hangover although it has been 60 years since our independence. The English cricket team touring India has always had their complaints about bumpy roads, bad food, poor amenities at the airports and the distance between the venues. Grow up guys you no longer call the shots in global affairs.

The English teams needs to be reminded that long before terrorism erupted in the sub-continent entire Britain especially London was being bombed by the IRA (Irish Republican Army) but did that mean sports came to a halt in England during those times? Did the Indian cricket and the other sports team pullout of events citing terror threats? Every place in the world is equally safe and post 9/11 that has been proved time and again.

For the Brits who feel India is a unsafe place to travel, there is some information. No planes slammed and destroyed any buildings in India. There have no blasts inside any metro station in India (even though we have only two running in Kolkata and Delhi). Nobody has managed to bursts crackers inside any plane that has taken off from India. Never were liquid explosives recovered from any plane over the Indian airspace.

Security is indeed the most important issue that the Indian Government will look into for the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Making too much fuss about it and having a colonial mindset isn't going to help the games anyways.


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