Thursday, 24 May 2007

Mecca Masjid blast: Mosques to get protection

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, May 24: Mosques of archaeological and tourist importance will get special protection in view of the blast at the historic Mecca Masjid in the city.
To begin with, Mecca Masjid, Toli mosque, Khairatabad mosque and Royal mosque will be monitored round the clock by specially-trained personnel of the minorities welfare and the archaeological departments and the State Wakf Board. All these mosques will have metal detectors and closed circuit TV cameras. Cloak rooms will be set up outside these mosques as part of increased security measures. All these mosques are around 400 years old and are structural marvels in themselves.
The Haj House and the Mallepally Mosque will also get metal detectors and CCTVs. But these places will be monitored by the State Wakf Board. Mallepally mosque is the State headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat.
The city police will train the personnel of minorities and archaeological departments and State Wakf Board. It will also provide logistic support to these departments. The police will, however, not involve itself in the security at these mosques because of religious sentiments.
"Civilian employees will conduct frisking of devotees and tourists at these mosques. The CCTVs will function from 4.00 am to 9.00 pm. As these mosques are under the joint management of the minorities and the archaeological departments, they will share the expenditure on security," Minorities Welfare Minister Muhammad Ali Shabber said.
The Mecca Masjid will have 21 CCTVs with a central control room, six door metal detectors and five hand-held metal detectors. The height of the fencing will be increased. Traffic flow on the Shahalibanda-Charminar Road will be closed during the Friday prayers.
As many as 30 unemployed youths will also be hired by these departments for additional security at these places, the minister said.
The archaeological department has sanctioned Rs 30 lakh for security measures at Mecca Masjid.

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