Two days after a series of 1o blasts occurred in the Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya, Bihar one would have expected stringent security at the key religious sites across the country. However it seems that while the government has announced the deployment of strong security cordons at these places, most popular religious shrines are yet to see strengthened security cover. Evidently, the promise has not translated into action yet.
A special investigation by CNN-IBN on Tuesday has revealed that some of the key places of worship in New Delhi and Mumbai have almost no security checks.
When reporters visited the Hanuman temple in Connaught Place, New Delhi there were no policemen present. This, despite the CP police station being just 300 metres away.
The reporters, who were carrying bags with pressure cookers - a commonly used object to store explosives - were allowed to enter right inside the inner sanctum of the temple without any checks. The channel reports that even the metal detectors installed in the shrines were not working.
Reacting to reports of the security lapse, the head priest of Hanuman Mandir Lalu Maharaji said everyone makes mistakes hence the issue shouldn't be blown out of proportion. "Our people did not check the bag thinking it had flowers. We don't search and check when people are carrying flowers for puja. However, from now on we will be more careful. There is always security and police on Mondays," he told CNN-IBN.
Expecting heightened security in the month of Ramzan, the reporters visited Delhi's iconic Jama Masjid carrying a pressure cooker wrapped in a piece of cloth and placed inside a bag. However, they soon figured the extra caution was unnecessary and the policemen didn't bother to check the contents of the bag. They team was allowed to walk right into the Masjid. The bag was placed inside the mosque and went unchecked till the team decided to return.
It was the same case when the team visited the Gurdwara Rakabganj in Old Delhi. A bag with a pressure cooker in it was left at the Gurdwara and it went unnoticed. The Gurdwara is located quite close to the Parliament and the Delhi Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee office.
In Mumbai, there was minimal security at the Haji Ali Dargah. Metal detectors installed at the site failed to detect a steel tiffin box inside a bag. There were no policemen present at the main entrance of the Dargah. The bag, left in a corner, went unnoticed for over 20 minutes.
At the Mahalakshmi temple and Mumbai's prominent Siddhivinayak temple, bags were not allowed inside the premises but there was no security check.
Clearly even when a high security alert is sounded out, anyone can enter the country's premier and possibly even vulnerable religious places as and how they like.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has reacted to CNN-IBN's report and has asked for video footage of the visits. The force has promised an investigation into lapses by its officials.
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Updated Date: Jul 10, 2013 15:21:55 IST