Bangalore semis only after stadium is sanitised - police
Bangalore's ability to host the two IPL semi-finals is in some doubt after the city's police commissioner said they would give a security clearance for the games, to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, only after the stadium is sanitised.
The commissioner, Shankar Bidari, was speaking shortly after police discovered an unexploded device on Sunday morning several metres from the Chinnaswamy Stadium. This follows Saturday's blast, which left eight people injured, on the periphery of the stadium just before a match at the venue and the recovery of another unexploded device a short distance away.
For its part, the IPL has announced enhanced security measures at the venues of the remaining IPL games. "We are talking to police and government officials about security arrangements," Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, said on Sunday. He said two extra layers of security would be added outside the venues for the remaining games. "It will be a little inconvenient for the spectators but we're leaving no stone unturned, security will be watertight."
The developments, which point to a lapse in security, have raised concerns over both pre-match security procedures and the handling of the match after the blasts. There have also been unconfirmed reports of some overseas players being unwilling to go ahead with game.
However, in his post-match comments Anil Kumble, the home team captain, offered a contrary view. "Once we were given the assurance that it was safe to go out and play, we didn't have any problems at all," Kumble, captain of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, said. "I don't think any of the players had an issue once the authorities concerned gave the all-clear."
The match was delayed by an hour and Kumble was asked if he spoke to his team-mates in the dressing room during the waiting period. "Coming from Bangalore which is my home city, I felt extremely safe," he replied. "I didn't have a problem, and that's what I told the team.
"We were warming up when we heard a noise," Kumble said, recounting the afternoon's events. "We didn't think too much about it but we were then told by the officials to be careful. They asked us to leave the ground and get inside the dressing room, and told us that they would let us know when it was okay."
The blast - actually two explosions, in the same place, within minutes of each other - took place about an hour before the game, when fans were streaming in, and forced a delayed start. There was no panic in the stadium - though there was no official announcement of what had happened, spectators were informed through their own sources - but there is some uncertainty in the city and some anger over the way the situation was handled.
This was same city where a Champions League match was delayed last year after a junior player living in the stadium clubhouse was suspected of having explosives in his luggage.