India - Commonwealth Games

India says Commonwealth Games safe despite gun attack


The Commonwealth Games will be safe, organisers insisted Monday after a weekend gun attack, but Australia warned of a "high risk" of terrorism as New Delhi gears upto host thousands of athletes.


Two attackers on a motorbike opened fire with a sub-machine gun outside the Indian capital's main mosque on Sunday, injuring two Taiwanese members of a television crew that were travelling in a tourist minibus.

Correspondent Vikram Roy, New Delhi

"Yesterday's shooting was a one-off incident which was not targeted at the Games," said Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the Commonwealth Games organising committee.

“All security measures for the athletes and tourists who will be coming for the Games are well taken care of. I assure that," he said.

The shooting came just a fortnight before 7,000 athletes and officials from countries in the former British empire visit New Delhi for the multi-sport event that starts on 3 October .

The Australian warning was the latest in a long line of concerns expressed by participating nations about possible attacks from home-grown or Pakistan-based militant groups.

"There is a high risk of terrorist attack in New Delhi," Australia's foreign affairs department said, urging visitors to pay close attention to their safety "at all times" during the Games.

The Games, the most expensive in the history of the event, were meant to be a chance for fast-growing India to showcase itself on the international stage.

But the Delhi event has been mired in cost-overruns, corruption allegations and political infighting.

A cancellation now from a major sporting nation like Australia or Britain would wreck the event with the start date so close at hand.

But authorities called for calm after Sunday's shooting, while police cast doubt about a claim of responsibility issued by the Islamist group Indian Mujahideen.

The group, responsible for bomb blasts in the capital in 2008, sent an email to Indian media outlets indicating they were behind the attack.

But observers say Islamists were unlikely to attack India's most famous Muslim place of worship, speculating that the attack may have been the work of Hindu zealots ahead of a court ruling Friday on a disputed religious site.

Police are also probing possible links between the bus shooting and a small explosion in a car nearby, which burst into flames shortly after the motorbike attackers fled the scene.

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