India says Games safe despite attack on tourists

NEW DELHI: Commonwealth Games organisers yesterday insisted the event would be “safe and secure” after unknown gunmen fired on a tourist bus outside New Delhi’s main mosque.

Two Taiwanese tourists were injured when attackers on a motorbike opened fire with a sub-machine gun on the bus outside the Jama Masjid mosque in the ancient walled city.

The attack came just a fortnight before the start of the Oct 3-14 Games, when 7,000 foreign athletes and officials are expected in the Indian capital.

“The shooting incident this morning in Delhi will have no impact on the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi,” organising committee secretary-general Lalit Bhanot said in a statement.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs and Delhi police have made elaborate arrangements to provide the Commonwealth Games athletes and officials a safe and secure environment.

“The Commonwealth Games Associations of the nations and territories have been satisfied with the plans and preparations made by Delhi police and the International Security Liaison Group, formed by the ministry of Home Affairs.”

Indian officials have been repeatedly forced to defend security arrangements in the city ahead of the Games, a multi-sport event that brings together athletes from countries in the former British empire.

The attack is likely to fuel anxiety among athletes and sports authorities.

Before yesterday’s incident took place, Australia said it would send a team to the Games as the security risk was “acceptable”, despite a warning from a private firm of an 80% chance of an extremist attack. — AFP

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