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FEATURE ARTICLE: Policing the national capital: Commonwealth Games, community engagement and the threat of terrorism in Delhi August 5, 2010

Posted by southasiamasala in : Dash, Kamala Kanta, Features, India , comments closed

Kamala Kanta Dash

The Delhi Police are prepared more than ever before to face any terrorist attack. However, to succeed in their initiative to police terrorism they need a sustained community engagement policy. Counter-terrorism at present is facing a twofold challenge; one is the structural challenge that includes appointments, salary, procurement of weapons and high technology based surveillance systems and the second is the ideological challenge that has trapped the police in a repressive colonial model of policing which, in turn, has not allowed the police to develop belongingness with the people. The new amendment in the Delhi Police Act 2010 must target both these institutional and ideological aspects of reform.

“The Delhi Police is making whole-hearted efforts to improve the quality of policing in the city so as to be a model police force for the entire country.” Y. S. Dadwal, Police Commissioner of Delhi

It is both a privilege and a challenge to police a diverse and multicultural community of 18 million people belonging to many faiths, languages and ethnic identities. Policing the national capital has become the toughest job in the recent years given the increasing number of terrorist attacks. Delhi has faced three major terrorist attacks in the last decade and as per the intelligence sources it remains a site of impending attacks. Each attack has challenged the reputation and efficiency of the police, though every time the police have emerged more equipped to handle such a crisis. However, the upcoming Commonwealth Games (CWG) to be held from 3rd to 14th October 2010 will be a real test of the preparation that the Delhi Police have done since last serial blasts on 13 September 2008 and more specifically the cautionary preparation in the post-26/11 Mumbai attacks.


Delhi Games: sport and politics August 3, 2010

Posted by southasiamasala in : India, Stoddart, Brian , comments closed

Brian Stoddart

With the opening of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Delhi just two months away, the official handover of facilities to the organisers is now occurring.  The Indian mass media, however, is replete with stories of uncompleted buildings, faulty construction, and repair work already beginning.  That follows the mass floodings in Delhi that blocked traffic for hours, in some cases because new infrastructure put in especially for the Games failed to function adequately.  As if that were not enough, there is now a potential major corruption scandal with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the anti-corruption watchdog, suggesting a widespread use of bloated tenders, kickbacks, use of inferior materials and other corrupt practices.

In turn, all this has led to the resurrection of arguments that the CWG has simply been another, albeit huger than normal, means of channelling funds into the elite areas of Delhi at the expense of more serious infrastructure improvements being made in the lives of the broader citizenry.

Children near renovated Nehru Stadium, New Delhi (Wikicommons)


The 2010 Commonwealth Games and crisis management in Delhi April 22, 2010

Posted by southasiamasala in : Dash, Kamala Kanta, India , comments closed

Kamala Kanta Dash, Monash Asia Institute, Monash University

With a mission to deliver the ‘Best Ever Commonwealth Games’, the 19th Commonwealth Games (CWG) from 3rd to 14th October 2010 is set to transform many facets of public life in Delhi. The Indian government has prepared a budget outlay of more than Rs.10,000 crore (about US$2 billion) with the aim of turning Delhi into truly a ‘global city’. This makeover includes a massive overhaul of infrastructure, public transport and security services in Delhi. In addition, the Chief Minister Ms. Sheila Dixit has put strong emphasis on changing the public culture of Delhi and has urged Delhiites to behave and be exemplary hosts to all the dignitaries, visitors and guests.

The Union government and the city-state government are readying to cash in on the possible success of the CWG. What has become clear is that the Indian government wants to display its soft power through this international event. However, managing more than 8000 athletes from 71 countries and at least 100,000 foreign visitors will be a daunting task for the organisers as well as the government. Apart from the issue of delays in preparing the venue and related facilities, there is serious anxiety concerning security and crisis management, both of which require urgent attention and effective coordination.


Sport and security: India’s year of living dangerously. March 17, 2010

Posted by southasiamasala in : Gordon, Sandy, India, Pakistan , comments closed

Sandy Gordon

India is a rising economic star and also wants to be a world venue for major sporting events.  But violent jihadi groups have a strong incentive to undermine that image.  New Delhi’s Dayal Chand National Stadium, with its glistening new astro-turf, was therefore in complete lockdown for the opening of the Hockey World Cup.  Security was so tight that the President of the Federation of International Hockey, Leandro Negre, was stopped and searched.  Players were confined to their hotels when not playing or training and heavily escorted between venues.  As it transpired, the two weeks of competition went without a hitch from the security point of view.  (And for the record, Australia won).

New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru stadium


Commonwealth Games: post-imperial conflict October 21, 2009

Posted by sandygordon in : India, Stoddart, Brian , comments closed

Brian Stoddart

When New Delhi won next year’s Commonwealth Games, it was rightly regarded as a “break through” opportunity much as the Asian Games were in 1982.  Here was the chance for the “new” India to show its stuff, and there was considerable talk about this being the test run for a Delhi bid on the Olympic Games.  That, of course, would set the national capital for a Beijing-style moment, heralding India as a genuine world power.

From the outset, though, realizing the Delhi Games would be a difficult task.  The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), like most international federations, is a complex body with its own patterns of powers and procedures.  While the host city organising committee has responsibility for delivering the Games, the CGF keeps close oversight on developments and is never shy about giving advice.  Then, India’s democratic structure would never allow organizers the same power as, say, Beijing to make sweeping changes to city infrastructure, alleged social problems and budget allocations.  Further, Delhi organizers would never bow to external pressure in the way some other hosts had, mainly because of the elaborate interplay between Indian sport and politics. (more…)