Economy

Security staff take control of BRICS meet venue

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on March 29, 2012

The upmarket Taj Palace Hotel in the capital represented a security fortress as all the roads leading to the hotel, the venue of the fourth BRICS summit, were lined with gun-totting security personnel.

Watchers even stood on rooftops even as pigeons fluttered all around them, often perching themselves on the parapets of the hotel’s various rooms.

To gain entry to the venue one had to go through three layers of security with a body check and walk through metal detectors.

Though tight, the security check did have its moments of hilarity. “Sir you can’t take in a newspaper. Sahib has said it might have pictures of Chinese people,” said a security personnel putting the newspaper that a journalist was carrying aside.

It was another matter that the same “objectionable” newspaper was available in Café Fontana, the venue for journalists to have tea, coffee and snacks. Another journalist was questioned on why he was carrying such a thick writing pad. And one security personnel took forever to do a physical check. “Sahib is watching. I have to do a good job,” he reasoned.

Inside the venue, the sound of firing from a nearby armed forces range was perhaps the only noise which the leaders gathered for the summit could hear. The hotel staff pointed out that the entire hotel had been taken over by BRICS. “There have been some walk-in guests but we have been sending them to other hotels,” they said.

Published on March 29, 2012

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