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Security? Don?t go by cop claims!

THE POLICE claim that a security blanket had been thrown around city temples fell flat on its face when the ?Hindustan Times? decided to physically examine the claim.

india Updated: Mar 11, 2006 01:03 IST
GAURAV Triptahi
GAURAV Triptahi

THE POLICE claim that a security blanket had been thrown around city temples fell flat on its face when the ‘Hindustan Times’ decided to physically examine the claim.

The police claimed to have increased the number of police personnel and providing metal detectors. When these temples were visited, the findings, to say the least, were shocking. There were no cops, forget metal detectors.

At all the six big temples — Anadeshwar, Balkhandeshwar, Hanuman, Tapeshwari Devi, Sai Darbar and Kherepati temples —potential targets for a militant strike, security was altogether missing. To top it all, devotees were accessing the temples unchecked, briefcases, bags et al in tow.

“Whatever the police says is all on paper. We saw cops just once that was the day after the blasts,” said Anant Mishra “Antu’, patron of Kherepati temple trust.

At the Sai Darbar Temple in Bithoor, that according to SP rural Ratan Srivastava “could be” a target of militants, hundreds of pilgrims visit every Thursday.

According to Srivastava, following blasts in Varanasi, now instead of two cops, there are six, including two sub-inspectors. Besides, these cops have been provided with metal detectors.

Ironically, devotees were seen roaming freely in the temple with their bags and baggage. For security, there was only a private guard of the Sai Trust at the entrance of the temple telling people where to remove and keep their shoes.

When this temple was visited, only two constables were seen sitting on a bench at a distance of 20 metres from the temple. Near the sanctum sanctorum there was nothing in the name of security as was described by the top cops.

At the Hanuman Temple in Panki, where thousands of pilgrims visit daily, and the figure increases manifold on Tuesday, worshippers were seen entering the temple without any security check.

Interestingly, the police accept that the Panki Temple is situated in a densely populated area and even a low-density explosion could wreak havoc here.

Despite the admission, there are only two constables here, who are least bothered about the safety of the people. This correspondent freely entered the temple with a large bag and returned with it.

The police also claimed that top officials have been conducting regular checks at adjacent localities and houses. When some residents of these areas were asked about the police patrolling, they had never heard of such a thing.

First Published: Mar 11, 2006 01:03 IST