HOMELAND SECURITY: Veil off CWG ‘blast plot’ – and what a nightmare that would have been, hats off to the security forces ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY NISHIT DHOLABHAI
New Delhi, Oct. 19: Karanbir Singh, a Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) militant who fled Punjab police custody yesterday, had come to Delhi to set off blasts during the Commonwealth Games, security agencies said.
Karanbir, 24, was arrested on Sunday from a village in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur with 1.5 kg of RDX and two AK 47 rifles. He was kept in a police lock-up, from where he went to the toilet and apparently escaped through a window. The Centre is believed to have taken the police claim with a pinch of salt.
Sources said Karanbir, alias Karan, and an accomplice had come to Delhi before and during the Games and surveyed some locations in Delhi. Tips on his involvement came from people, some 47 of them, picked up last month.
“The blasts were to be triggered in a location in South Delhi and in RK Puram,” a source said, adding the duo had returned to Punjab after failing to do any damage.
The finger of suspicion is again at Pakistan’s ISI that is known to have sheltered Karanbir and BKI chief Wadhawa Singh. Wadhawa and Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) leader P.S. Panjwar are believed to have sent Karanbir and his accomplice to India to disrupt the Games.
Karanbir has been based in Pakistan for the last few years. He was involved in planning blasts in Punjab’s Nabha and Halwara this February, which were averted.
These revelations follow disclosures that western intelligence agencies had warned India about crack teams of al-Qaida and Lashkar militants preparing to attack Games venues and hotels.
A resurgence of Punjab militants is known to be taking place in Europe and Canada. Sources said several meetings of the BKI and KCF have taken place in the UK, Germany and Austria.
The Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing are expanding operations to keep tabs on the resurgence, sources said.
Now on: common man games – In vacant Commonwealth village, workers who built it taste the fruits of their labour – the party’s over, now to focus on developing sports in India ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY IMRAN AHMED SIDDIQUI
New Delhi, Oct. 19: Krishan Kumar, 25, a sweeper at the Commonwealth Games Village, does not know how to swim. But he didn’t think twice before taking the plunge at one of the two swimming pools at the Village yesterday.
“I just wanted to experience how it felt like bathing in a swimming pool. During the Games, I used to see the athletes having a great time in the pools and I did not want to miss this opportunity of a lifetime,” Krishan, who belongs to Bihar, said as a group of workers looked on.
“Paani bahut thanda hai (The water is cold),” he shouted. The other workers, who had already taken a dip, broke into laughter.
After 15 minutes, he came out and wrapped himself in a gamchha. “It’s unbelievable,” he said, taking out some sunscreen lotion from his trouser pocket and dabbing it on his face and body.
Among a lot of other leftovers, Krishan got more than 20 sunscreen lotion tubes while cleaning one of the flats where the athletes had stayed.
“This is how the athletes, especially the women, used to apply it before basking in the sun outside the swimming pools. Even I have to work under the sun now, so let’s try it,” he chuckled.
Over 500 workers, who have been working at the Village for two to three months, have over the past three days been living a different life at work — wearing sunscreen, getting into the pool, working out at the gymn and getting their meals from the kitchen which served the nearly 6,000 athletes.
“We are in a different world altogether. Many of us had never seen swimming pools,” said Ajay Kumar, a driver, who is attached to the Delhi Development Authority.
DDA had hired the workers, mostly housekeeping staff, on contract for the Games. Working in shifts, they looked after the residential complex, the sports complex, the bar and the discotheque. Since Saturday, when the athletes left, they have been living at the Village, cleaning and scrubbing the flats and getting them ready for sale. Of the 1,100-odd flats, about 700 belong to the DDA, which took them over along with the sports complex yesterday, and the rest to builders Emaar MGF. “The flats will be sold but we are yet to finalise the mode of sale,” a DDA official said.
Today was the last day at work for the housekeeping staff. Most have got goodies to take back home — T-shirts, shoes, perfumes, sunscreen lotions, shampoos, towels, Bermudas and blankets left behind by the athletes and their families in the flats. “We will use sunscreen lotion as we work under the blazing sun during summer. Some of us have already started using it,” smiled Anju Devi, a cleaner. Co-worker Naresh Kumar said he would gift one to his girlfriend.
Rishi Raj Jainth, another worker, was happy with the mutton and rice lunch dished out for the workforce from the kitchen that has made 5.5 lakh meals through the Games. “We are getting good food and also doing some exercise at the gym that the players used to go to. What more could we ask for?” he said.
Anju recounted how the athletes drank and danced through the night on October 13, the day before the closing ceremony. “Most of them came down from their flats and danced outside. It was a great scene. Before leaving, some of them gifted a few dollars to the liftmen,” she said, her face clouding, suddenly aware the party’s over.