Thursday, September 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Security blanket across country

Armed policemen guard Birla Mandir
Armed policemen guard Birla Mandir in New Delhi on Wednesday after an all-round alert was sounded following the terrorist attack on the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar on Tuesday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, September 25
Security has been beefed around major religious places, VIP areas and vital installations across the country today even as the Army was deployed in the sensitive areas of Gujarat to thwart any communal backlash in the wake of the terrorist attack at the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar.

An Army brigade of around 3,000 personnel was deployed in sensitive areas of Gujarat early morning as part of “precautionary deployment”, while the RSS headquarters at Nagpur and Delhi’s Jhandewalan office were brought under a tight security dragnet.

Security was beefed up around the temples of the Swaminarai sect in different parts of the country, besides important pilgrim centres like Tirupati, Varanasi, Ayodhya and Mathura, among others.

Besides Gujarat, several states, including Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were put under high alert hours after the Gandhinagar shootout began last evening.

In the national capital, security in and around other government buildings, particularly the VVIP areas and the diplomatic enclave, have also been tightened with intense patrolling, increased number of barricades and additional deployment of police and paramilitary personnel.

Armed policeman stand outside the Swaminarayan temple
Armed policeman stand outside the Swaminarayan temple in Mumbai on Wednesday. — Reuters photo

With a statewide bandh called by the Congress in Gujarat and the VHP-sponsored nationwide bandh call tomorrow, extra vigil was mounted in communally-fragile areas to avoid any backlash of yesterday’s incident.

Important temples and other places of worship across the country are wrapped under tight security.

Apparently keeping in mind the recent communal riots in Gujarat after the Godhra train massacre, the authorities are taking no chances and are beefing up security in minority pockets.

In the capital, a special alert has been sounded and tight security arrangements are in place. Devotees at important places of worship are also being frisked before being allowed entry.

Political leaders also made impassioned pleas to stay calm and not to fall prey to rumours. PTI


BJP not to back VHP bandh

Chandigarh, September 25
The BJP today announced that it would not support the “Bharat bandh” called by the VHP tomorrow in protest against the terrorist attack on the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar.

“The BJP will not support the VHP-sponsored bandh tomorrow,” party general secretary M.A. Naqvi told reporters here.

Condemning the attack he said after failing to disrupt Assembly poll in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan had found Gujarat as a “soft target” to disturb peace and harmony in the country. Mr Naqvi, who launched BJP’s ‘Gaon chalo abhiyan’ at Kaimbwala village, near here, said “Pakistan may have used Gujarat as a soft target.” PTI 

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