Puja, ODI security, VVIP visits keep Guwahati cops on toes

GUWAHATI: Security personnel in the city were kept on their toes amidst the fervour and rush of Durga Puja on Wednesday, with VVIPs visiting the Kamakhya Temple and members of the Indian and West Indies cricket team and officials arriving in the afternoon.

Team India will take on West Indies in the ODI series opener at the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) Stadium at Barsapara here on Sunday with police gearing up a three-layered security drill for the cricket match as well as the puja celebrations in the city.

A special chartered flight carrying some members of the teams landed at the LGBI Airport here in the afternoon following which the players were escorted to a five-star hotel in the Gotanagar area.

Reportedly, India skipper Virat Kohli and opener Shikhar Dhawan are scheduled to arrive on Thursday.

On Monday, seven one-day specialists of the West Indies team comprising Marlon Samuels, Ashley Nurse, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Fabian Allen, Oshane Thomas, Rovman Powell and Obed Mc Coy, flew into the city with access to “Z-Plus” security.

The city police and district administration will be extra cautious this time to prevent occurrence of a “stone-pelting” like incident on October 10 last year when the window pane of the Australian cricket team bus was shattered as the vehicle was on its way to the hotel after conclusion of the T-20 match at the ACA Stadium. India had lost that match to Australia.

Meanwhile, several cricket fans who had booked online tickets on October 11 and had queued up in front of ticket counters at the Nehru Stadium since the early hours on Wednesday for their “hard copy” were left disappointed for some time after the counters opened late.

In the morning, BJP national president Amit Shah paid a visit to the Kamamkha Temple atop Nilachal Hills to invoke the blessings of Mother Durga before flying to Mizoram in the afternoon to chalk out a strategy for the November 28 Assembly elections in Mizoram.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, health and finance minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma and BJP state president, Ranjit Dass along with other party members accompanied Shah to the temple amid tight security.

Maha Ashtami also saw Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi offer prayers at the ancient shrine. The visit was his first to his home state after he was sworn in as the country’s 46th Chief Justice earlier this month.

Over 500 puja pandals are being put up within Kamrup metro district administration with both district and police officials not leaving any stone unturned in regard to traffic and security arrangements during the five-day festival and the ODI on October 21.

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