HYDERABAD: Walk into the historic Mecca Masjid and you are greeted by a non-functional door frame metal detector (DFMD). Worse still, there are security personnel who do not even frisk the visitors.
Eleven years after a powerful bomb ripped through Mecca Masjid killing nine and injuring 58 others, tall claims of authorities of tightening security in and around the 16th century mosque, falls flat. The NIA court is going to deliver its judgement in connection with case on Monday.
When Express visited the mosque on Sunday and walked through the non-functional DFMD at the main entrance, there were two security personnel stationed inside, a male and a female. The male guard asked this correspondent to open his bag and just checked one of the compartments out of the many. He then pointed at a nearby shack and asked to deposit the bag. Likewise, they allowed other visitors to proceed without any frisking.
Inside the mosque premises, there was not much security other than a guard who sat in front of the prayer hall. On any given day, there are a few thousands who visit the mosque including the tourists. Security at the back entrance is even more pathetic. On Friday when Express tried to enter the mosque through its back entrance, there was hardly any security in place. There was one security personnel sitting beside a DFMD, who asked this correspondent the purpose of his visit. Upon identifying himself as a press person, he was readily granted access. The personnel didn’t bother to even ask for an identity card, nor did he ask to walk through the door frame metal detector.
Mecca Masjid, which is also a heritage site built in the 16th century, attracts visitors from across the country. At any given day thousands visit the site. And on Fridays, anywhere around 10,000-15,000 people offer their prayers.
Months after the blast, the then state government had constituted a committee to look into the security aspects in and around the mosque. Even though 25 security men were sanctioned, only 15 are presently on duty at present. CCTv have been installed at the entrance of the mosque and on the minars, and are rarely monitored.
The metal detector which is placed at the entrances of Mecca Masjid is only activated on Fridays and when there are a large number of people inside, said V Satyanarayana, DCP South Zone.