The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Okay after 'enhanced' security
- New Delhi clears Chittagong
- Indian officer(s) expected to join team
- Azad returns today

Calcutta: With the government agencies in Bangladesh 'enhancing' the level of security in Chittagong, the port city will get to host Team India both for a Test and ODI.

The protection-cover, in any case, has been 'upgraded' following death threats by the extremist Harkat-ul-Jihad. Dhaka, however, maintains the communication attributed to that organisation is a 'hoax.'

An inquiry, of course, is underway.

According to The Telegraph's sources, New Delhi cleared the Chittagong-leg after IG Yashovardhan Azad, assigned for an on-the-ground assessment, was assured by Bangladeshi officials that security personnel from Dhaka are also going to be on duty in the port city.

Chittagong is to host the second and final Test, from December 17, besides the first ODI, on December 23. The clearance came on Thursday evening.

Azad, who heads the VIP security division, is understood to have sought 'clarifications' during his recce there on Wednesday. One, it seems, related to the 'technical strength and capability' of the personnel in the port city.

The officials reverted quickly, confirming the arrangements in Dhaka (for the first Test and the last two ODIs) will be 'replicated' in Chittagong. Towards that end, personnel from the capital are to 'supplement' local security.

Significantly, the Bangladesh government has already deputed an SP, Shoaib Ahmed, as Team India's security liaison officer. He is on call 24x7, much like SSP Sohail Khan was during the trip to Pakistan in March-April.

The routine procedures apart, emphasis has been placed on (a) thwarting suicide bombers and (b) eliminating the planting of bombs either at the hotel, stadium or en route to any of the two places.

Incidentally, Azad 'briefed' Sourav Ganguly and Co. for around half-an-hour on Thursday morning. The session took place at the team hotel, Sonargaon, before nets ahead of Test No.1 which begins on Friday.

Azad, it may be recalled, did the recce in Pakistan too and was with the team throughout the one-day series, which included matches in sensitive centres like Karachi and Peshawar. His deputy and another senior IPS officer were assigned during the three Tests.

Meanwhile, one learns that New Delhi does intend sending a chief security liaison officer in a 'day or two.' In fact, even two IPS officers could be deputed to Team India.

Azad returns on Friday afternoon.

Postscript: Azad and the rest of the recce team, it appears, have been most impressed by Bangladesh's home secretary, Mohammed Omar Faruq. 'He's dynamic and grasps everything so very quickly,' is how a source put it.

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