Security beefed up at Bihar temple after terror threat

September 27th, 2008 - 3:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Sep 27 (IANS) The security at Bihar’s Vishnupad temple, which is visited by thousands of Hindus from India and abroad, was beefed up after an SMS threatening to blow it up was received, an official said Saturday.The temple, located in Gaya town, is dedicated to Hindu god Vishnu. The SMS, from a suspected terrorist outfit threatening a blast at the temple, was received two days ago by a senior district administration official, police sources said here.

The police have beefed up the security around the temple.

“We have deployed additional security forces in and outside the temple to keep round the clock vigil,” a district official said.

“Police intensified patrolling and search operations in view of the threat,” a police official said.

It was the first time that such a threat to blow up the temple was received.

The ongoing fortnight-long Pitrapaksh festival, during which Hindus consider it auspicious to offer ‘pindadan’ (a religious service seeking salvation for the dead from the cycle of rebirth), takes place here.

It sees thousands of Hindus from across India and even abroad gather in this town, about 100 km from state capital Patna.

The festival was officially inaugurated Sunday by assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary at the temple amid security.

This time fewer people were expected to come here because of the fear caused by floods in northern Bihar, though Gaya is located in the central part of the state.

Hindu devotees offering `pindadan’ shave their heads and take a holy dip and head for the Baitarni pond. Some rituals are conducted at the Falgu river flowing nearby.

The prayers are performed at Vishnupad temple by priests, known as Gaywal-pandas.

Legend has it that Lord Rama and his wife Sita performed this religious rite here for his father, King Dasharath.

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