Wiser after the Dilsukhnagar bomb blasts, police showcased their concern for citizens’ security in the city Thursday, poking security systems to see if they work, and teasing security guards at shopping malls with strategically abandoned bags.
Many popular malls and public establishments came up short on security awareness, and their managers had to endure a stern lecture from the cops.
Ahead of Mahasivaratri on March 10, several police units carried out security drills on the main roads, frisked motorists, cyclists and even pedestrians. Personnel from the anti-terror outfit, Octopus, were also enlisted for the drive. With checks ubiquitious, roads were a bit less thickly populated Thursday, and parking less rampant than normal.
Five teams of Octopus personnel filtered into the GVK One mall in Banjara Hills, and found that the business establishments had totally failed to instal CCTVs and their security persons were not even frisking customers before entry.
Finding media photographers handy, the troopers shanghaied them into the job, asking them to leave their bags. At Crossword, one commando was not even asked a question as he entered confidently.
Another commando strode into Shoppers Stop cradling his carbine for all to see. He was not stopped at the entrance. Another commando dropped his wireless set in a dustbin at the escalator and no one turned a head.
Later, the Octopus detail called in the security supervisors and gave them the safety lecture. Stern action was promised if laxity continued.
Other decoy ops at other malls met the same Hyderabadi response. Cops summoned up some vexation to order closure of two shopping malls, one at Abids (Big Bazaar) and another (Coupon) at Secunderabad, when they detected a complete lack of security sense there: no CCTVs, peremptory frisking and no flags raised at unclaimed bags. One mall at Musheerabad, City Mall, got away with a ticking off.
A serendipitous discovery of Thursday security drive as the finding of unaccounted cash - a total `50 lakh - at various places in the city. Rs 24 lakh was found on one person in L B Nagar, but he had valid documents. Another `4 lakh was found with a person on bike at Chilkalguda.
Shops located in Begum Bazar were closed by evening after an alert was received from the Intelligence Bureau of possible terror strikes ahead of Mahasivaratri. Shops in Charminar, Shalibanda, Sultan Bazar, Ranigunj and RTC crossroads and Musheerabad were also closed.
Security drill gave rise to typical Hyderabadi rumours. One spoke of an explosion in Secunderabad. Police took pains to say there was nothing to any of them canards.