The explosions around the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here ahead of the commencement of the IPL T20 match have not only exposed the lapses in the security measures that were in place on Saturday but also pose a new challenge to the police nationwide as this is the first time a stadium was targeted in the country.
While the top brass of Bangalore police insist that there was no security lapse, they have so far not been able to buttress their contention.
Despite such denial on the part of the police, the fact remains that suspected Indian Mujahideen activists breached the security and planted IEDs at a few places in and around the “well guarded” stadium.
According to senior IPS officers, who have worked as Deputy Commissioners of Police (Central) and supervised security arrangements for many cricket matches at the stadium in the past, the focus had always been on ensuring the safety of the players and spectators.
Two officers who spoke to The Hindu were of the view that as in the past, the police apparently did not accord priority to the stadium's peripheral security on Saturday.
The crude bombs that exploded and those that were defused were all placed on the compound wall concealed behind billboards or in the immediate vicinity of the stadium. Apparently, sniffer dogs and bomb detectors were not used to scan the nearly eight-foot compound wall and the over 1,000 billboards.
This indicates that the police had not sanitised the peripheral areas thoroughly, the officers explained.
Usually, the police do not scan dustbins, bushes, billboards, electrical installations and bus shelters on the periphery or in the immediate vicinity of the stadium as part of the security arrangements.
Clearly, those who had executed the blasts had visited the stadium and spotted these chinks in the security system, they said.
Further, reports suggest that the electronic surveillance system, in the form of CCTV cameras, was not only inadequate but also some of the cameras, including the one installed opposite Gate No 12, were not working properly.
Sources in the Bangalore police, which had charged the IPL Rs. 3 lakh for providing security for each match, said miscreants were not successful in planting the bombs in the pavilion as they were not able to break the security corridor fully.
However, the other view is that the terror module that executed the blasts may have intended to place the bombs only at innocuous places — behind billboards and bushes — as its aim was only to create a scare not to cause a major damage.
When contacted, former Director-General and Inspector-General of Police T. Madiyal said that one cannot conclude there was a lapse without analysing the details of the security plan put in place.
One has to take into account the decisions that were taken and also the level of security provided — whether it was zero tolerance, access controlled or something else — before commenting on the issue.
To a query on Police Commissioner Shankar M. Bidari's decision to allow the match to go on despite the blasts, Mr. Madiyal said: “One's immediate reaction would have been that the match should have been stopped. But, in my view, whatever decision a senior police officer at the spot takes in a split second is always right, and I respect the decision.”
Keywords: Extremist violence