Hyderabad tightens security ahead of blast anniversary

May 16th, 2008 - 10:50 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, May 16 (IANS) The Hyderabad police have made elaborate security arrangements ahead of the first anniversary of the bomb blast at the historic Mecca Masjid. Security has been beefed at the mosque, Charminar, other monuments, places of worship, and other public places in the city.

The bomb blast during Friday prayers at the 17th century mosque May 18, 2007, claimed nine lives. Five more people were killed in the subsequent police firing on protesters near the mosque.

As the Jaipur serial blasts occurred a few days before the first anniversary of the Hyderabad blast and the preliminary investigations indicate similarities between the two blasts, the police are not taking any chances.

The blasts in Jaipur Tuesday claimed over 60 lives and injured over 200.

Additional policemen have been deployed around the Mecca Masjid, where the Friday prayers passed off peacefully. The police have intensified patrolling in the communally sensitive areas of the old city.

Senior police officials have expressed their dissatisfaction over the security at Charminar, the 400-year-old edifice which symbolizes the city.

A senior official, who went around the monument, saw women visitors climbing to the first floor were not being checked due to lack of women security personnel.

The police officials, who conducted random checks in the wake of Jaipur blasts, also found that the security at shopping malls and cinema theatres was not adequate. Some officials walked into the malls and theatres with explosives and firearms without being detected.

Police Commissioner B. Prasad Rao said notices would be issued to such shopping malls and theatres and they would be asked to install security gadgets.

The Hyderabad police have also sent a two-member team to Jaipur to study if there were any similarities with the blasts here last year.

Intelligence agencies, during preliminary inquiry, found that Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and timers were used in both the blasts. Bangladesh-based Harkatul Jihad-e-Islami (HUJI), which was blamed for blasts here, has also emerged as the suspect in Jaipur blasts.

The police commissioner said the Rajasthan police had sought Hyderabad police’s assistance in the investigations. A police team from Jaipur is likely to question those arrested in connection with the blasts here.

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