Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, May 2:
In the backdrop of the recent revelation that two Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives having visited Odisha in January this year, possibly with the intention of carrying out a terror attack during the Rath Yatra in Ppuri, Twin City Commissioner of Police (CP) Dr RP Sharma reviewed security in and around the famous Lingaraj Temple this evening.
Existing security measures at the 11th century temple were reviewed and several new measures, including frisking of all the visitors to the temple, increase in the number of police personnel deployed and installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and metal detectors at the temple were discussed during the review meeting.
Dr Sharma said one sub-Inspector (SI) rank officer will replace the existing ASI at the Lingaraj police outpost. Currently, one platoon of Odisha State Armed Police (OSAP) and six lady constables are deployed to guard the Lion’s gate, Parbati Mandir and all three gates (Main, South and North) of the temple.
To strengthen the security in and around the temple, the number of lady police constables would be increased and an additional hand-held metal detector would be added to the one already installed at the main gate, Sharma said. Besides, intelligence gathering would also be given additional impetus, he added.
Besides the 14 CCTV cameras already installed inside the temple premises, more will be installed outside the temple premises and these will be directly connected to the Lingaraj police station. The Inspector-in-charge of the police station will monitor the video footage to identify suspicious movement, Dr Sharma added.
There are around 4000 sevayats performing rituals inside the temple. The CP said they would be issued identity cards and would be allowed inside the temple only if they have it. “We might also go for biometric device as the ID cards are not reliable,” said Dr Sharma.
Rajendra Samartha, secretary of Samartha Nijoga said, “The rear boundary wall of the temple adjacent to BMC hospital is only 3 feet tall and people cross it without the slightest hindrance. The height needs to be raised urgently.”
In his reply the CP said, “We are also planning to install barbed wire fencing along the walls.”
Moreover, the CP would consult with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for construction of premises walls and other security measures without disturbing the basic architecture of the temple.
Dr Sharma also discussed with the temple administration the possible opening of the South gate for the movement of Prasad and not to allow it through the main gate as it is difficult for security personnel to frisk persons entering the temple.
Thousands of devotees visit the temple during the Chandan Yatra period every year.