Heightened Security At Meenakshi Temple Irks Devotees

MADURAI, INDIA, March 2, 2013 (The Hindu): With Meenakshi Amman Temple coming under a security blanket, devotees as well as residents in the vicinity are uneasy over the heightened police presence. “The temple has been taken over by the police for all practical purposes and under the guise of security the police are troubling the common man,” devotees complain.

There were complaints from some of the Bhattars working in the Temple. “The police are checking us physically before entering the sterile area…We objected to this and informed the temple authorities. The moment we produce our photo identity cards, the police should allow us in without frisking,” they argued.

Women devotees with infants, unaware of the heightened security, are irked when they are told to leave camphor, match box, tender coconut water filled in bottles and other puja items such as agarbathis and milk outside the premises.

A policeman is on guard atop a specially erected watch tower. All this gives an impression that we are living in a high security zone such as New Delhi.” Even the temple staff are uncomfortable with the repeated checks. “When will the police relax this scale of security, a temple staff asked”

A senior police officer said, “After the receipt of a specific threat, we have no other option but to step up vigil. The public have to cooperate. When the Central security agencies alert us about a possible threat, we cannot remain silent or hope nothing untoward would happen,” he argued and added “if something goes wrong, the police would be blamed.”

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