As an anxious police force takes steps to prevent untoward incidents, devotees and residents feel the brunt.
With Meenakshi Amman Temple coming under a security blanket, devotees as well as residents in the vicinity are uneasy over the heightened police presence. “The temple has been taken over by the police for all practical purposes and under the guise of security the police are troubling the common man”, devotees complain.
The Chitirai Streets, usually teeming with visitors, now wears a relatively deserted look.
Routine business activity has been affected.
Police intercepted a private water tanker headed towards a local lodge near the Meenakshi Temple.
A noon-meal centre organiser had difficulty transporting essential commodities to a school situated very close to the Temple.
There were complaints from some of the Bhattars working in the Temple.
“The police are checking us physically before entering the sterile area…We objected to this and informed the temple authorities. The moment we produce our photo identity cards, the police should allow us in without frisking,” they argued.
Women devotees feel the pinch
Women devotees with infants, unaware of the heightened security, are irked when they are told to leave camphor, match box, tender coconut water filled in bottles and other puja items such as agarbathis and milk outside the premises.
A lady was seen pleading with police personnel saying that she had come all the way from Rajapalayam to fulfil a vow, but the police refused to relent.
But N. Sriram of Visalakshipuram, a regular visitor to the temple, felt the public should cooperate with the police as the temple's security was at stake.
Vasuki, who lives nearby, said, “Earlier, during morning walks, there would not be many police…but during the last five days, I see many men in khaki.
A police is on guard atop a specially erected watch tower.
All this gives an impression that we are living in a high security zone such as New Delhi.” Even the temple staff are uncomfortable with the repeated checks.
“When will the police relax this scale of security, a temple staff asked”
Security vital, says police official
A senior police officer said, “After the receipt of a specific threat, we have no other option but to step up vigil. The public have to cooperate. When the Central security agencies alert us about a possible threat, we cannot remain silent or hope nothing untoward would happen,” he argued and added “if something goes wrong, the police would be blamed.”