Media making schoolboys team in India a target - father

The father of one of the boys currently touring in India with a Wellington cricket team says the New Zealand media is making the team a terrorist target by reporting about them.

In a warning issued last night, MFAT said there were increased indications and heightened concerns that terrorists were planning attacks in New Delhi, possibly in market areas.

Attacks could also be directed at national institutions, religious sites, festivals, tourist areas, hotels, markets, fairs, major sporting events and public transport, MFAT said.

There was an "extreme" security risk in Jammu, Kashmir, Tripura, Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and along the India-Pakistan border, and a "high" risk in Bihar and Jharkhand due to violent crime.

There was "some" risk to New Zealanders' safety elsewhere in India, MFAT said.

Governments in the United States, Australia and Canada had also issued security advisories to their citizens yesterday, warning that a terrorist attack was "imminent" in places Westerners were known to visit.

The Wellington under-16 cricket team left for Hyderabad on Friday and would head to Bangalore for three matches against an Indian representative side over two weeks.

However, Francis Wevers, one of the trip's organisers and the father of one boy on the trip, said the threat to the team was only arising from media reports.

"I think the media's being terribly irresponsible in New Zealand because the area of concern in the MFAT advisory and the other advisories is hundreds of miles away from where these boys are playing cricket," Mr Wevers told NZPA tonight.

"By highlighting this story in relation to them, and it's irrelevant to them, (the media) is actually responsible for making them a target."

"Where is it in the public interest that 15-year-old boys are being created by (the media) as potential targets when they were flying under the radar."

Mr Wevers said he was considering laying a complaint with the press council and broadcasting authorities over what he said was irresponsible and provocative journalism.

Cricket Wellington considered halting the tour last month following a bombing outside a Bangalore cricket ground before an Indian Premier League match, before deciding it was safe for the players to travel.

- NZPA

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