The Police Department has taken unprecedented measures for the protection of temples in the State, according to DGP D. Gautam Sawang.
Mr. Sawang was addressing a meeting on ‘Temple safety – challenges in temple administration’ organised by the Sate Institute of Temple Administration (SITA) at the Mallikarjuna Mahamandapam at Kanaka Durga temple here on Wednesday.
“Nowhere in the country have such measures been taken,” Mr. Sawang said.
As many as 198 cases were detected after the September 5 Antarvedi incident in which the century-old temple chariot was gutted. The police had arrested 373 accused / offenders. As many as 1,893 people with history of temple crimes were rounded up and questioned. Also, 4,873 people involved in communal disturbances were identified, the DGP said.
Mr. Sawang said the police had identified 59,433 religious places for taking up security audit, mapping, and geo-tagging. CC cameras numbering 47,733 were installed at 14,282 locations. The gadgets would have to be installed at the remaining places too. Temple trusts, Endowments Department, and private people had taken up the responsibility, he added.
The DGP further said that the village defence squads (grama rakshana dalams) were formed as a defence mechanism. So far, 18,732 were established and the target was to form 23,082 squads in the State.
Creating awareness among people and involving them in temple safety and security were also necessary, he observed.
SITA director Dronamraju Ramachandra Rao, Additional DGP (Law and Order) Ravisankar Ayyar, Vijayawada City Police Commissioner B. Srinivasulu, ACB Joint Director G.V.G. Ashok Kumar, DIG Technical Services Palaraju, and DCP Vikrant Patil were present.