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Tight security for Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid
Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | May 24, 2007 22:31 IST
The Hyderabad Police has made elaborate security arrangements for the Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid, in the wake of the bomb blast and subsequent police firing incidents last Friday in which 14 people were killed and over 50 were injured.
The City police also made security arrangements at the other major mosques in the city. The police also installed closed circuit TV cameras at vantage points in Mecca Masjid so that the police could observe the movement of any person from outside.
Mobile phones will not be allowed to be taken inside Mecca Masjid. Those carrying mobile phones will have to deposit them at the gate. This is the first time that mobile phones are not to be allowed inside the Masjid.
Minority Welfare Minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir reviewed the long-term security measures at Mecca Masjid and four other major and historic mosques and the Haj House in the city.
"We will explain to Muslim religious and political leaders that the situation has now changed and they should cooperate with the government for the safety of worshippers," Shabbir said.
The review meeting was attended by the Police Commissioner, Hyderabad District Collector R V Chandravadan, and senior officials of State Archaeology and Minority Welfare Departments.
The Minority Welfare and State Archaeology Departments, which are responsible for the upkeep of the mosque, would oversee the implementation of the security measures. The security equipment is estimated to cost Rs 30 lakh. In all, 24 people would be recruited to handle the security gadgets and CCTVs at the Masjid.
The CCTVs would help in monitoring the movements of visitors, including worshippers and tourists to the Masjid. A cloakroom would be opened near the entrance where all visitors would be required to deposit their belongings before entering the Masjid.
Since last Friday's bomb blast was triggered with a mobile phone, the city police are also contemplating installing jammers in the Masjid to jam mobile signals in the area.
The Archaeology Department and the AP State Wakf Board will also install metal detectors and other security equipment at Royal Mosque in the public gardens adjacent to the state legislative assembly complex, and Mallepally, Khairatabad and Toli mosques.The police commissioner said that the police were making progress in the investigation of Mecca Masjid blast and added that 'we have sent our teams wherever we felt necessary.'
The Special Investigation Unit probing the blast has recorded the statements of eyewitnesses, injured people and mosque workers.