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Thick security blanket over Akshardham

September 24, 2003 10:42 IST

A thick security blanket has been thrown over Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar, which was attacked by terrorists this day last year. The attack claimed 33 lives.

Deployment of State Reserve Police, closing all but one gate leading to the temple, increasing the height of the boundary wall, and installation of CCTV's were part of the new security measures adopted after the attack.

The temple authorities have organised 'mahapuja' and 'shradhanjali' programmes to mark the anniversary.

On September 25, 2002, two alleged Lashkar-e-Tayiba militants entered the temple at around 1645 hours and engaged in nightlong gun battle with the security forces, including the NSG, which was flown in from New Delhi.

The NSG commandos managed to eliminate both militants after daybreak.

Letters recovered from the duo revealed existence of a little known outfit called Tehreek-e-Kasas, supposedly formed to avenge post-Godhra riots in Gujarat.

The victims included five women, four children, two state police commandos and one NSG commando, while 72 persons were injured. One NSG commando is still on life support system.

The probe was initially handled by the Anti-Terrorist Squad of the Gujarat Police, but their success was limited to getting hold of few email addresses and tracing a cyber café in Juhapura area allegedly used by the militants.

The major breakthrough came on August 29 with the arrest of five persons, including two clerics who allegedly hatched the conspiracy and sheltered the terrorists.

The case was then handed over to the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB), which claimed the attack was planned in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

On the basis of forensic reports, DCB later claimed the letter found from the militants was written by one of the two arrested clerics.

A LeT militant arrested by Jammu and Kashmir Police, however, challenged the DCB's findings and said there was no local contact and it was he who had escorted the duo to the city to carry out the attack.

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