New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) Armed policemen will be travelling in team buses of 12 countries participating in the World Cup hockey tournament starting here Feb 28. Pakistan and Australia will get the maximum security cover.
In a bid to prevent a repeat of the terror attack on Sri Lankan cricket players in Lahore last year, armed policemen will escort the players when they move to and from the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, where the matches will be played.
The stadium, in the heart of the city, is located barely two kilometres from the Le Meridien hotel, whose 240 rooms have been booked for the teams.
'The players will travel in normal buses, not bullet-proof vehicles,' a senior officer dealing with the security of players told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Asked about the possibility of an attack like on Sri Lankan cricketers in Pakistan, the officer said: 'India and Pakistan are different countries. As of now, no intelligence agency has reported any threat to the hockey World Cup. But we are taking precautionary measures.'
Besides two-three armed officers who will travel in the buses with the players, there will be a police escort ahead of the players' bus, said the official.
Although the government does not want to generate needless fears, it is equally determined to ensure that nothing goes wrong since any mishap will cast a shadow on the larger Commonwealth Games in October.
The teams from Pakistan as well as Australia -- where Indian students have come under racist attacks -- will get maximum security cover, officials told IANS.
The hockey World Cup takes place once in four years. The participating countries this time are Argentina, Canada, Germany, South Korea, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, England, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Spain.
Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said: 'We are taking the World Cup as a dry run for the Commonwealth Games. It will be a full-fledged rehearsal where multiple agencies will coordinate and work hand in hand to prevent any untoward incident.'
(Sahil Makkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)