Massive search operations launched at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium prior to first match of U-17 World Cup.
New Delhi: An intelligence input about a teen entering the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium with ammunition, where the FIFA Under-17 World Cup was on, sent the Delhi Police into a tizzy Friday, the opening day of the event.
Due to the alert, the police had to scrap the initial security arrangements and make fresh traffic plans at the last minute, leading to massive snarls on Delhi’s roads.
The input that came in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting in the US, in which 58 people were killed and 500 injured, said that a terror outfit had planned a similar attack inside the stadium. The event is being held for the first time in India.
According to sources, the input said that the teen could be among the schoolchildren who were brought to the stadium to watch the match.
“Around 25,000 schoolchildren from Haryana had come to watch the match in 500 buses. The alert said that a youth could get mixed with the schoolchildren and sneak in explosives to be used to carry out blasts. It also stated that bags of schoolchildren could be used to sneak in ammunition, including a gun,” a source said.
The alert also mentioned that the teen may enter the stadium as a staff, the source added.
Following the alert, all the 500 buses were stopped from entering the stadium and each student was verified by the police.
“An emergency briefing was called just half an hour before the match and a thorough check of all schoolchildren was ordered. All the teachers accompanying the students were asked to physically verify each student and the staff was asked to supervise. It was also ordered that no student be allowed to enter the stadium without a valid school ID and re-confirming the same from the teacher,” a police source said.
A thorough check inside the stadium too was carried out. “The IDs of all the staff were checked again and the entire stadium was searched,” he said.
According to sources, the decision to block all main arteries and divert the routes was not in the initial plan and was done only after the alert was issued.
“When the alert came, a new plan had to be chalked out. Barricades were placed at major entry points and routes were diverted, which then led to heavy traffic jams,” a police officer said.
The security will remain tight through the tournament, which will be on till 16 October.
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