Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Friday that “reasonably” rescheduling the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches “seems unavoidable” as the Lok Sabha election dates and IPL schedule were overlapping.
“I want IPL to be played in India. Cricket must be played in India and there is no reason for anyone to be concerned about shifting to a neutral venue. Only thing is that some match dates are overlapping with election dates. To ensure proper security and,if necessary,deploy central paramilitary forces,the rescheduling of IPL seems inevitable. We will ensure that playing cricket in India is safe,” said Chidambaram who is in Hyderabad to assess the security situation in Andhra Pradesh.
When asked if the attack Sri Lankan cricketers would inspire Pakistan to crack down on terrorism,he said: “I hope so. Unless the terror infrastructure is completely dismantled it wont work. It would be like a riding a tiger.”
Chidambaram held meetings with Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy,Home Minister K Jana Reddy,Director General of Police (DGP) SSP Yadav and Intelligence while in Hyderabad. “This is part of an exercise to review the security situation in each state after the meeting of chief ministers in January. I am happy with the progress made by Andhra Pradesh. The level of preparedness is much higher than it was three months ago and it would still be better after three months,” he said.
Chidambaram added that steps were being taken to enhance coastal security in Andhra Pradesh. “Six coastal police stations have already been set up,15 more will come up soon in nine districts. The AP government has identified 508 coastal villages where identity cards would be issued to the residents under a central government programme. I have also suggested that mobile phones be provided to coastal fishing communities so that they can inform police and security forces in case they find movement of suspicious persons or boats. This experiment is already being implemented in coastal Kerala at present,” he said.
Chidambaram underlined the need to enhance urban policing. “There is no such thing as business as usual now. We have to abide by rules and regulations now,accepting some restrictions. Visibility,mobility and firepower are what will make policing effective in urban areas. There is a need to also station quick reaction teams at different places in the cities,” he said.
The AP police is also raising a special commando force comprising 256 personnel who will be trained by the NSG. This force is over and above the NSG hub that will be set up in Hyderabad by June 30. Chidambaram said the Centre has sought 25 acres to set up the NSG hub and the formalities would be completed in a few weeks.
As part of strengthening the police force,37,500 personnel in various police wings are being recruited. While the recruitment of 16,322 personnel would be completed by November,efforts are on to recruit another 22,000. “After this recruitment,technically there would be no vacancies in AP police,” Chidambaram said.
Praising the ‘Grey Hounds’ the anti-Naxal force the Home Minister said that the elite force has achieved remarkable results. “Now,the police have an upper hand on Naxals barring one incident in which the force lost 34 personnel. I have asked the Chief Minister to continue to keep up the pressure,” he said.