High security at religious, tourist spots in 5 K'taka dists

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Mysore, Feb 17 (UNI) The law enforcing authorities are taking steps to tighten the security arrangements at major tourists spots and places of worship in Mysore and four other districts in Karnataka, following the recent arrests of terror suspects and widespread robbery reported at various temples of the state.

Police sources told UNI here that apart from Mysore, Mandya, Chamarajanagara, Hassan and Kodagu districts would come under heavy security cover.

The recent burglary at the Yoganarasimha Swamy temple at Melkote in Mandya district had shocked the devotees. Burglars also broke open the 'hundi' at the Sriranganathaswamy temple at Srirangapatna, in the same district recently and there was a burglary attempt at the Uttanahalli temple on the Chamundi foothills a few days back.

The anti-social elements were continuously targeting places of worship and cashing in on the simmering tension between members of various communities, the sources said.

Police had divided the places of worship in these regions under two categories-- places of 'high importance' and places of 'importance' -- based on the number of visitors and importance of the places.

A recent circular from the Karnataka Government had directed the authorities concerned to install 'door-frame metal detectors' along with access control and closed circuit TV and set up a 'control room' within the premises of the places of worship. It had also been directed to carry out a 'security drill' for checking vehicles and form security rings of volunteers to assist the police.

The places that would be covered, included Srikanteswara temple at Nanjangud, Uttanhalli temple, Kabini reservoir in Mysore and Ranaganathaswamy temple, Ranganathittu bird sanctuary, Balamuri falls, Belur Chennakesasva swamy temple, Hoysaleswara temple of Halebid, Talacauvery, and Nagarahole National Park.

Southern Range IG R P Sharma, in a circular, said the number of tourists and devotees, visiting these places, had increased and it was not possible to make a fool-proof security arragement. But it was necessary to deploy 'home guards' in these five districts along with local police on a long-term basis.

The police was also instructed to identify small tourist spots in these districts to set up 'tourist aid posts', the sources added.

UNI BSP SJ AE RK1715

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