Michael Roberts, 23 February 2011
In conjecture I would say that the dangers of attacks on the cricket teams in the three Asian countries staging the World Cup are minimal. However, in the context of the assault at Lahore on 3 March 2009 and the generalized assault on high-profile targets at Mumbai by Pakistani extremists, it is quite understandable that strong security cordons surround the teams and cricket venues. My questions here are directed at the specifics of the arrangements in Sri Lanka as witnessed around Sooriyawewa and Hambantota; and my experiential evidence of holes in the cordon.
Police screening — Pic courtesy of the Sunday Times
Scene at Sooriyawewa three hours before match Between Pakistan & Kenya – with “catchers” and 3 guards around -Pic by Roberts
Several days back Mahinda Balasuriya, the IGP, with Lawrence Fernando, Sri Lanka Cricket’s head of security, in attendance, held a media briefing at which he thanked Gothabaya Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary, for the assistance provided to the police in seeing to the safety of the ICC officials and teams. He then went on to stipulate that the public would not be permitted to bring a whole range of items into the grounds: namely, “banners, placards, crackers, laser lights, professional video cameras, laser points, firearms, knives, sharp objects, smoke bombs, flag poles, firecrackers, mirrors, drink cans, glass bottles, liquor and sharp instruments.” These items were not only listed, but illustrated pictorially in the Sunday Observer of the 20th February 2011. Read the rest of this entry ?