Closed circuit cameras for Vaishno Devi base camp

September 27th, 2008 - 10:53 am ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Sep 27 (IANS) Closed circuit TV cameras (CCTV) will be installed at the base camp of the Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra as a security measure during the coming Navratra festival, police said. An average of 20,000 people pass through the town every day for pilgrimage to the shrine, a figure that goes up significantly during the nine-day festival that starts Sep 30.The Vaishno Devi shrine attracts more than seven million pilgrims annually.

CCTV cameras have already been installed at the cave shrine itself. “Extra precautions are being taken because of the coming Navratra,” Inspector General of Police (Jammu zone) K. Rajendra told IANS.

“These measures (of installing the CCTVs) have become necessary as terrorists were trying to disturb peace and communal harmony,” Rajendra said.

He has also asked all hoteliers in the town to install CCTVs at their establishments.

A battalion of the Indian Army guards the hills surrounding the shrine, while the police manage the security on the pilgrimage route. There are x-ray machines and metal detector gates all along the route.

Even the common religious offering, the coconut, is not allowed inside the cave shrine, for there were reports that terrorists could use these to cause trouble.

The Vaishno Devi shrine, nestled in the Himalayas at a height of 5,200 foot above sea level, has been on the target list of terrorists.

In 2003, terrorists had lobbed grenades and killed seven pilgrims near Banganga, en route to the 13 km track to the cave shrine.

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