Delhi gurdwaras reject proposal to enhance security

July 30th, 2008 - 1:45 pm ICT by IANS  

By Richa Sharma
New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has rejected a police proposal to enhance security around Sikh shrines here even as religious places continue to be vulnerable to terror attacks. “We had received a proposal from Delhi Police for putting up metal detectors at Sis Ganj, Rakab Ganj and Bangla Sahib gurdwaras,” DSGMC president Paramjeet Singh Sarna told IANS.

“We turned down their proposal as we do not want to create fear among people visiting gurdwaras,” Sarna said.

These three Sikh shrines receive a heavy rush of devotees everyday but do not have any internal surveillance system.

“Three years back we put up closed circuit TV cameras at Bangla Sahib, which are not functional anymore. But we are now planning to repair and reinstall them soon,” Sarna said.

Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said: “Religious places have often been the target of terror outfits.”

In the aftermath of the back-to-back blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad last week that together claimed over 50 lives, he “extra security cover has been extended to all the religious places here, including the Jama Masjid, and the Akshardham and Iskcon temples.”

However, the Jama Masjid management says police presence is not enough and wants the paramilitary Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to take care of security at the 17th century mosque in the old quarter of Delhi.

However, the home ministry has not paid heed so far.

“After the blasts in Jama Masjid in April 2006, we had written to the home minister for deploying the CISF at the Jama Masjid but have not heard anything from them,” Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam or head cleric, of Jama Masjid.

Little effort has been made to enhance security around the churches in Delhi, though some are using the services of private security guards.

“Following the blasts, we have employed two private security personnel in the church. We are also planning to write to Delhi Police requesting for security personnel,” Father Rebello, a parish priest at Sacred Heart Cathedral in central Delhi.

In India, which is a melting pot of faiths, prominent religious shrines thronged by thousands of people everyday are easy targets for terrorists.

In October 2007, two people were killed and 17 were injured in blasts that shook the Ajmer Sharif dargah in Rajasthan.

Terrorists struck again in May 2007, killing 11 people and leaving over 50 injured in a blast in Hyderabad’s historic Mecca Masjid and the police firing that follows.

A total of 21 people were killed in three explosions, including one targeting the famous Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi in March 2007. In September 2002, 46 people were killed in a terror assault on the Akshardham temple in Gujarat.

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