Terror, hooligan threats cast shadow over Russia’s World Cup

first_imgFans travelling to Russia are required to register with the police on their arrival in one of the 12 host cities and even riverboat traffic is being curtailed to make it easier for the authorities to keep track of everything that moves.At least 30,000 security personnel will fan out across Moscow by the time the hosts kick off against Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium on Thursday.Squadrons of fighter jets will be on standby near the capital and air defences will be on the alert for suspicious aircraft.“After long years of preparations we have created a clear security plan,” said FSB domestic security service deputy chief Alexei Lavrishchev. “We are ready to avert and overcome any security threat.”– Tempting target –The 64 matches beamed around the globe will give President Vladimir Putin the chance to project Russia as a modern state that has regained the superpower status of its Soviet past.But Putin is not the only one trying to take advantage of the unrivalled platform of a World Cup.Russia is mounting a huge security operation for the World Cup © AFP/File / OLGA MALTSEVASecurity experts noticed the Islamic State (IS) group threatening to make its presence felt in Russia.The IS propaganda arm began posting social media pictures at the end of last year showing superstars such as Lionel Messi and Neymar dressed in the orange suits used for videotaped executions.The message accompanying the images was explicit: “You will not enjoy security until we live it in Muslim countries.”Analysts said the sheer size of the World Cup would have made it a target even if Russia had not launched a bombing campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in September 2015.But Russia’s role in fighting IS and other militant groups in Chechnya and other parts of the mostly Muslim north Caucasus has made it a prime target.In the months leading up to the tournament, Russian state TV regularly broadcast images of combat operations against purported militants that end either with suspects lying in pools of blood or mouthing confessions.Russia has also witnessed a spate of suicide bombings claimed by Islamists that has killed dozens on public transport over the past eight years.“There have been numerous successful terror attacks or thwarted plots in Russia by terrorists linked to or inspired by the Islamic State,” the US Military Academy at West Point wrote in a report prepared by its anti-terrorism centre last month.“This suggests the group may have the capacity to launch attacks in Russia during the World Cup.”– Hardened hooligans –Hooliganism was a brutally violent but largely overlooked problem in Russia until 150 of the team’s supporters — most of them shaven-headed and muscle-bound — pounced on the English in the French port of Marseille during Euro 2016.The bloody scenes that followed shocked Europe and saw the Russian fans proclaim themselves kings of the football underworld.“It was like winning against Brazil in football,” a fan who took part named Andrei told AFP.“It was our last chance to show ourselves before the World Cup because we knew Putin would crack down hard to make sure nothing like that happens in Russia.”Andrei and dozens of others who battled the English have since either spent time in Russian prisons or been forced to sign police promises not to cause any trouble in the weeks to come.Few expect Russian thugs to risk embarrassing Putin with the world watching.Organisers have also tried to keep out undesirable elements by introducing fan ID cards that everyone must acquire along with a ticket.Russian police conduct background checks with the help of their foreign counterparts and weed out potential troublemakers.Nearly 500 people have already been denied entry.Yet little can keep patriotically minded groups of boozed-up fans from getting into fights with each other or the locals that could get out of control.British football’s top police officer may have had that in mind when he warned the 10,000 or so travelling England supporters against displaying the St George flag.“I think people need to be really careful with flags,” Mark Roberts said. “It can come across as almost imperialistic.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Russian riot police take part in exercises in Saint Petersburg © AFP/File / OLGA MALTSEVAMOSCOW, Russian Federation, Jun 12 – Russia has deployed air defence systems and stringent fan background checks in a sweeping security operation to counter the twin threats of terror attacks and hooliganism at the World Cup.The country was already intensely policed when it was controversially awarded the right to host the event in 2010 but the clampdown that followed saw hardened hooligans seek cover and business barons wind down the operations of factories that process hazardous materials for fear they might be attacked.last_img read more

Ladakh MP gets PMs praise for LS speech on Art 370

first_imgNew Delhi: Till Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Ladakh, didn’t make a firing speech in Lok Sabha while participating in the debate on a government move to scrap the special status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, only a few were knowing about the political acumen of the young parliamentarian.After the remarkable speech, the whole world came to know about the political capabilities of the 34-year-old parliamentarian who celebrated his birthday on August 4. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Namgyal’s speech in Lok Sabha, which earned the praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was also hailed by most of the parliamentarians, including the members of Opposition leaders. PM Modi in a tweet said, “My young friend, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, who is MP from Ladakh, delivered an outstanding speech in the Lok Sabha while discussing key bills on J&K. He coherently presents the aspirations of our sisters and brothers from Ladakh. It is a must-hear!” Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThough the young parliamentarian’s speech was mainly focused on the key issues such as education, employment, development, etc., the BJP MP attacked the Congress and past state governments and accused them of discriminating against the people of Ladakh in giving government jobs. Hailing the government move to grant Union Territory status to Ladakh, Namgyal said, “We have been demanding it for the last 70 years. Presentations were given to the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru. It became possible just because of PM Modi. Modi hai to sabkuch mumkin hai (Modi will make everything possible).” Attacking the Kashmir-centric J&K National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, Namgyal said, “Members of two families are still intoxicated and think that Kashmir is their father’s property.” Here, the two families refer to the Muftis and Abdullahs whose members have been chief ministers of the state for most of the time. In his speech, Namgyal said, “Since yesterday, everyone has been talking about equality, saying that if Article 370 is removed, equality will cease to exist. I want to ask why is it that in the past when funds were collected for the development of entire J&K, the entire amount for Ladakh was transferred to Kashmir. Is this your equality?” “Where was the equality, when Ladakh didn’t get any Central university prior to PM Modi coming into power. No development has taken place in Ladakh when it was the part of J&K. We had requested previous governments to make Ladakh a part of Punjab, but not J&K,” Namgyal. The Ladakh parliamentarian further said, “In the Lok Sabha election, the people of Leh, Ladakh and Kargil voted for a Union territory. When the then Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited the region, majority of the people said they want Ladakh to be made a Union territory.” Blaming Congress of discriminating Ladakh, Namgyal said, “When Ghulam Nabi Azad was the chief minister in 2008, his government created eight new districts in J&K. Four were for Kashmir and the people of Jammu fought for an equal number, but Ladakh got nothing. Is this your equality?”last_img read more