The Sri Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam was abuzz with hectic security activity in the late hours on Monday with commandos of the National Security Guard (NSG) and the Tamil Nadu Commando Force (TNCF) jointly carrying out a mock counter terrorism drill.
Armed with assault weapons and other technical gadgets required for the “operation”, the NSG commandos meticulously carried out the mock drill which went on for three hours and culminated in the early hours on Tuesday. This is for the first time that a joint counter terrorism mock drill involving the NSG commandos was conducted inside the Srirangam temple, said a senior police officer.
Commonly known as ‘Black Cats, the NSG commandos numbering over 100 from the counter terrorism unit’s regional hub at Chennai landed at Srirangam on Monday for the joint exercise. The mock drill was carried out to effectively deal with and combat an extreme crisis situation arising out of a terrorist attack, said police sources.
The sources said a pattern was followed in the mock exercise wherein the local police being the first responder at first entered the temple complex to deal with the hostile situation. Thereafter, the Tamil Nadu Commando Force (TNCF) personnel were informed and a nearly 40-member commando team took over to tackle the crisis situation to capture the “terrorists”. The NSG commandos moved in on being informed and took charge of the situation. The inner and outer areas of the temple were cordoned off during the course of the drill which concluded at around 2.00 a.m., said the sources.
Armed with body-worn cameras, the NSG commandos split into teams scaled the huge compound wall of the temple to gain entry inside to execute their “mission”, said the sources. A night vision drone was also deployed for the drill to capture the movements taking place inside the temple. A control unit outside the temple kept monitoring the entire exercise. A few “terrorists” were captured in the over four-hour long drill which was carried out in one portion of the temple, the sources further said.
The NSG commando team had in their possession the blueprint of the temple complex and gave a briefing about the mission to the Commissioner of Police, Tiruchi M. Sathya Priya. The joint exercise involving the City Police, Tamil Nadu Commando Force and the National Security Guard was carried out to effectively deal with an extreme crisis situation in the wake of a terrorist attack, Commissioner of Police Sathiya Priya said. The sources said similar drills by the NSG commandos and the TNCF personnel would be held at the BHEL on the outskirts of Tiruchi.