Many temple-goers on Sunday were in for a surprise. They were received by the police, who frisked them as they went in, as a part of the security check.
The Dilsukhnagar bomb blasts seemed to have acted as a wake up call for the city cops, who were seen at all the temples of Lord Shiva in the city to ensure tight security on the occasion of Mahasivratri.
All the devotees had to go through frame metal detectors after the frisking, and all the puja articles which they brought along were also checked by the cops. More than 10 cops were stationed at each temple in the city for the bandobust. “I expected the police to be present only at big temples. I didn’t think they would be present everywhere. In all my years, I’ve never been checked like this,” said M Manish, who visited Hanuman Siva temple at Road No 1, Banjara Hills.
“Apart from frisking and use of metal detectors by police, we are not allowing anyone to bring their vehicles near the temple premises this year. To make sure that everything is alright, we also have 50 volunteers who keep an eye on everything at all times,” said K Ravindranath, a trustee of Siva temple at Kundanbagh. In spite of the police presence and recent terror attack in the city, the number of devotees coming in has not come down this year.
“It is good that police have taken up security measures more actively than before. It reduces the burden on the temple management. In fact, the number of people who came to the temple increased this year,” said Venkateshwarulu, head priest of Lord Siva temple at Krishnagar in Jubilee Hills. Police officers and constables in plain clothes were also keeping an eye on the surroundings of temples.
Special branch officers are also around watching the people visiting temples and questioning anyone they find suspicious. Many were questioned when they were found waiting in their cars outside temples for their family members to come out. The cops noted down their details. “We are here to ensure the safety of people and the devotees have also been very cooperative. All the security arrangements are here for them after all,” said Loka Reddy, sub-inspector, Banjara Hills police station.