The intensive security exercise initiated by the city police has got the citizens scared on Thursday.
With overzealous policemen forcing closure of shops in some localities like Begumbazar, Chikkadpally, Begumbazar Chatri, Feelkhana and other localities during peak business hours led to escalation of tensions. Many began calling up media organisations to find out whether there was any alert about a possible terror strike again.
Entire city police went on an overdrive by checking vehicles, frisking commuters at junctions even as bomb disposal squads assisted by sniffer dogs took up anti-sabotage checks at malls and other crowded places across the city for the second day on Thursday. The OCTOPUS teams carrying latest weapons and gadgets too were pressed into service.
Interestingly, police could not find any suspects or suspicious objects during this unprecedented security checks across the city but they did stumble upon instances of huge quantities of gold jewellery and cash being transported without adequate security.
The police teams undertook massive mock drills in which the plainclothes policemen smuggled in weapons through the metal detectors manned by private security guards. In Big Bazar at Abids, police teams observed that the security measures were not upto the mark and forced its closure, though unofficially. “The mall management itself put up a board saying they were closing Big Bazar as there were no proper security measures. We did not close it down”, explained a police officer. He confided that decoy teams managed to smuggle in explosives two times despite the management being told to step up security.
On Thursday, entire police top brass was out on roads. The city police chief Anurag Sharma was personally monitoring the security drive taken up by all officers and constabulary of city police including personnel from Central Crime Station, Task Force and even the traffic wing. Mr. Sharma continuously monitored the special security drive instructing his subordinates on minute to minute basis over wireless sets.
“We understand the security threat and the checks but what right have police got to forcibly close shops and even tea stalls,” questioned Balakrishna, a shop owner from Chikkadpally. He felt the police had gone overboard in the name of security drill and scared the common man.
For the first time in recent memory, even the traffic police were instructed to check commuters from security point of view. “At many places like Secunderabad railway station, traffic gets struck even if a vehicle stops for a few seconds. In such situations, we were directed to put up barricades on the busy roads and check vehicles,” a traffic police officer said.
Interestingly, the local police claimed that local businessmen associations had voluntarily closed shops pledging solidarity with the attempts of police to create security consciousness.
The massive security exercise by police didn’t help them achieve any crucial leads in busting the terror strike at Dilsukhnagar that killed 17 persons. However, they found two persons carrying Rs. 21 lakh in a backpack –all bundles of Rs. 1,000 denomination- on a two-wheeler. Inquiries later revealed the money belonged to Rajdhani co-operative bank and was being taken to Andhra Pradesh State Co-operative Bank.
In another instance, the Saifabad police found two persons transporting 27 kilos of gold jewellery in a four-wheeler near Telugu Talli statue. The jewellery was seized and would be handed over to the Income Tax department for further action, the police said.