By Sandeep Datta
New Delhi, Oct.5 : The recent bomb blasts in the national capital have created a fear factor among residents here. Low turnout of devotees at popular temples during the ongoing Navratra festival reflects an affected enthusiasm despite heavy security.
It appears there is a fear of the unknown back at everyone's mind. And, this fear is keeping most of the people at home to avoid any untoward incident that crowded places may attract.
At the famous Shri Adya Katyani Shaktipeeth Mandir at Chattarpur near Mehrauli, about 200,000 to 300,000 people have converged till the fifth day of nine-day Navratra celebrations here. It used to be over 100,000 a day earlier.
On Saturday, which is generally a relaxed day, just 50,000 people converged till late evening.
"Devotees' response to Navratra celebrations at our temple is little less than it is witnessed normally during Navratras. But we are expecting the number of devotees to rise by Saptami and Ashtami (the seventh and eighth day) of the nine-day festivities. Today, on Panchami (the fifth day)," said a senior official at the Shree Adya Katyani Shatipeeth Mandir.
"I believe the recent tragic incidents of stampede witnessed at the Chamunda Temple in Rajasthan and a bomb blast that occurred here in Mehrauli just a day before Navratras have perhaps discouraged people this time," he added.
"Security has been tightened. At least four platoons of Delhi Police have been deployed besides the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans and Delhi Civil Defence people. We have also increased the number of Close Circuit TV Cameras (CCTVS) to 48 from 32 to ensure better security arrangements right from parking area to inside the main temple, " said J.P.Pandey, Manager for Personnel and Security at the temple.
Devotees to the Chattapur temple, however, said the terrorist incidents have happened once but
"Life should not stop just because an incident or two have taken place. If Death is uncertain and can happen to anyone at any time, why should I live in a constant fear of it all the time? I have been visiting this Chattarpur temple since childhood and don't find any reason to allow my faith be affected by a few freak incidents. I have come because of my deep faith in the temple and the Devi, the mother goddess," said Rajesh Sharma, a devotee from North Delhi.
Delhi witnessed four bomb blasts in Connaught place area on September 13, which killed 24 people and injured 100. On September 27, the bomb blast in Mehrauli's flower market three were killed and 22 injured. However, 213 devotees had died during a stampede at Rajasthan's Chamuda Devi Temple.