NATIONAL

Security tightened in Gujarat temples

To prevent communal incidents

Special Correspondent

GANDHINAGAR: Gujarat has been put on high alert and security strengthened in the five major temples there following Tuesday's terrorist attack on the Ramjanmabhommi temple at Ayodhya.

Director-General of Police A.K. Bhargava said the number of security personnel at the Somnath, Dwarka, Akshardham, Ambaji and Dakor temples had been doubled. The Central Reserve Police Force has been taking care of security at these shrines after the terrorist attack on the Akshardham temple in September 2002.

Policemen were deployed at the Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad, from where a `rath yatra' will begin on July 8.

Security was also strengthened at important public places. The police were maintaining vigil to prevent any communal incidents.

"On standby"

Mr. Bhargava said Gujarat was already on a "security standby" in view of the prevailing flood situation and the Jagannath rath yatra. About 35 companies of paramilitary forces had been deployed and they were further strengthened following the Ayodhya attack.

Special reward

Chief Minister Narendra Modi, describing the Ayodhya incident as an "attack on India's soul," declared a special reward of Rs. 10 lakhs for the security personnel who killed the terrorists. "They have saved the country from a major disaster by killing the terrorists before they harmed the Ramjanmabhoomi temple."

Weapons seized

The police seized 30 sophisticated weapons and arrested nine persons in a combing operation here on Monday night. Additional Commissioner (Crime branch) D.G. Vanjhara said the raid was carried out in a house in the Narol locality on information that Ghulam Mohammad, who hailed from Uttar Pradesh, was stocking arms.

On his information, the police conducted raids in the Dani Limda and Gomtipur localities and seized the arms.

Mr. Vanjhara said initial investigations did not indicate that the arrested had links with any terrorist group. They were probably engaged in an illegal arms business.

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