Dambulla: Team India has been issued a Code of Conduct by the Indian security officials for the present tour of Sri Lanka. No less than 24 uniformed men are guarding the team hotel in Dambulla and a clear list of dos and don’ts has been supplied to them.
The security hawks were present when India toured Pakistan in early 2004 but those were unprecedented circumstances and at stake was not just a tour but also Indo-Pak diplomatic ties.
This time around, the measures have just stepped up gradually since a security team from India visited Sri Lanka earlier this month.
Now they are everywhere, hanging outside players room, looming in the background when players hit the swimming pool and encircling the lounge when players come out to have a drink in the hotel lobby.
These men are from Indian security agency but posted with Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka. The initiative has come from Nirupama Rao, Indian High Commissioner in Colombo.
Rao, in typical diplomatic tradition, plays down the role of the High Commission and praises Sri Lankan authorities for doing everything within their command to ensure the safety of Indian players.
“I am all praise for the competence and help which Sri Lankan authorities have extended. It’s just a precautionary measure and not as if we have been tipped off on any imminent danger,” says Rao.
The precautionary measure though have been put in place after a series of incidents in Sri Lanka have put the safety of important Indian citizens under concern.
A few months ago, Shahrukh Khan emerged unscathed from a bomb explosion, which rocked his show in Colombo and left him deeply concerned. Then three weeks ago, the landcruiser of assistant Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka was hijacked and was traced only after two hours.
Only last week, the terrible bomb explosion in Egypt, which left over 100 dead, or the ones in London, have brought the truth home to people that the world is increasingly becoming an unsafe place.
In this context, the heightened security measures do not come as a surprise. As a follow up to all these measures, a liasion officer has been attached with the Indian team. Security officials have been told that in case of a breach of conduct by the members of the Indian cricket team, he needs to be contacted immediately.
At the insistence of security officials, team manager Sanjay Jagdale has held a meeting with all the members of the Indian squad and instructed them to try and follow the ‘dos and don’ts’ in spirit and in letter.