Security agencies favour IPL postponement

The security agencies are unwilling to stretch themselves for the Indian Premier League, which coincides with parliamentary elections.

updated: March 04, 2009 13:48 IST
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New Delhi:

The security agencies are unwilling to stretch themselves for the Indian Premier League, which coincides with parliamentary elections, and on Wednesday told the government to press for a postponement of the high-profile Twenty20 event.

Central security agencies opposed IPL's request of going ahead with a changed schedule which would mean no matches at the time of polling in the cities where the franchises are based.

However, security agencies disagreed saying troop mobilisation would take more than 24 to 48 hours, making it strenuous for the jawans.

"We have sounded them (IPL) and are waiting for their response," Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta told reporters when asked whether the IPL tournament was being given a go ahead by the Ministry.

The security agencies' fresh objection came in the wake of IPL Chairman Lalit Modi's plea that the cricket tournament could be held with some minor changes in the schedule.

The agencies again suggested the Home Ministry to consider asking for the postponement of the championship in view of tight position of security forces required for election duty.

The Union Home Ministry is likely to hold a meeting with eight IPL franchises tomorrow to discuss the issue, the sources said.

Modi had said last evening that the organisers were fully cognizant of the importance of general elections in a country.

"We will go a step further to ensure that there will be no games 24 to 48 hours prior to the polling dates across the nine match venues in the country," he had said in a statement.

The attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore yesterday prompted the security agencies to hold a quick review of the security arrangement for the 45-day event starting April 10.

However, in view of the general elections scheduled to begin on April 16, the security agencies feel the tournament could be postponed for the time being.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has himself suggested that the IPL should consider postponing the second edition as the terror attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan cast a shadow on the popular event.

He had asked the Home Secretary to get in touch with the organisers and discuss re-scheduling of the dates because of the non-availability of para-military forces in view of the polls which will require 21 lakh security personnel.

The tournament is to be staged in eight cities across the country and scheduled to conclude on May 24. The five-phased general elections will be held around the same time from April 16 to May 13.

The security agencies are apprehensive of terror attacks aimed at IPL as it is a congregation of all the global cricket stars, famous personalities and Bollywood stars.

The second edition of cricket matches will take place in Jaipur, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Delhi and two other venues which are yet to be decided.