KERALA

Sabarimala under tight security cover

Radhakrishnan Kuttoor

PATHANAMTHITTA: The Sabarimala Sannidhanam hillock in the Periyar Tiger Reserve has been put under tight security cover in the wake of terrorist threats to places of worship across the country.

Commandos have been deployed on the Ayyappa temple premises and the Lower Thirumuttom. Electronic mobile phone jammers have been installed to prevent cellular phone signals in the 100-metre radius of the temple.

Arun Kumar Sinha, Kerala Inspector-General of Police who is also the police coordinator, and P. Vijayan, Police Special Officer at the Sannidhanam, told The Hindu that 153 RAF personnel had been deployed at the Sannidhanam and 28 armed RAF guards at Pampa. This is in addition to a 68-member squad of the National Disaster Response Force from Coimbatore and a 28-member Quick Reaction Team attached to the State police, at the Sannidhanam.

Monitoring system

Mr. Vijayan said a multi-level monitoring system had been put in place to prevent any excesses on the part of the police personnel towards pilgrims. He said the police personnel had been given proper guidance on crowd-control measures.

Mr. Vijayan said NDRF personnel equipped with modern equipment for rescue and search operations had been deployed in certain areas identified as stampede-prone at the Sannidhanam, U-turn on the trekking path, Marakkoottom and Saramkuthi.

He said the police had been given wireless sets and binoculars at various watchtowers erected in the surrounding areas of the temple complex.

A 33-member bomb-squad, nine commandos and a 34-member Sannidhanam Shadow Police team had also been deployed at the hillock.

Mr. Vijayan said the ‘Sannidhanam Shadows’ in mufti had identified as many as 60 persons working in suspicious circumstances and had sought an Intelligence verification report on them.

The Sannidhnam police are also conducting surprise raids and had seized ganja and a small quantity of liquor during the past five days, he said.

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