The city police is taking no chances with Mumbai’s most visited temples and places of worship during the nine nights of Navratri, after dummy operations recently showed security systems in most city malls were abysmal.
On Saturday when SUNDAY MiD DAY visited the Mahalakshmi Temple in Haji Ali, it found that the Mahalakshmi Temple Trust (MTT) had left no stone unturned to ensure security of devotees and provide shopkeepers with guidelines to prevent any threats to devotees visiting the temple.
To keep the premises safe, the MTT has set up security cameras throughout the temple and its periphery where devotees may line up, all the way upto the Haji Ali crossing. Metal detectors are placed at all entrances and thorough bag and body checks are part of the security detail.
The police has also informed various shop owners about a few do’s and don’ts to follow over the nine days of the festival. SK Avasti, owner of BK Paan Shop near the temple, said, “The police told us not to keep excessive goods at our shops.
We have also been informed to keep an eye out for suspicious objects and persons. In case we find or happen to see a suspicious person we have been asked to inform the police as quickly as possible.”
On Saturday evening, nearly 100 police personnel guarded all entry and exit points to the temple. Officers of the Gamdevi Police Station were present in the premises at all times. A police official present there said, “We are working in two shifts and our team includes 30 female officers.
We have also informed local shop owners to keep an eye out for suspicious objects and persons. At all entry points we are conducting thorough bag checks and are only allowing personal bags. We also request people entering the premises to switch off all electronic devices while entering the temple.”
The MTT also has their own security guards in and around the temple premises. DCP Nisar Tamboli said, “We have issued ID cards to many residents to ensure they are allowed through the entry gates without any problems.”
Sharadchandra Padhye, manager of the MTT. said, “As always, we have made sure that security at the temple is at its best so that devotees remain safe. We have around 1,200 members along with our own security forces and the Mumbai police is there too, to help us maintain security.”
Padhye also added that unlike last year they have made a single line for both males and females in order to allow families to go to the temple together. However, he said that should there be any problems with the new system, they will shift to last year’s method of separate lines for men and women.
To prevent chances of a stampede or excessive crowd in the temple, authorities are allowing only a certain number of people into the temple at a time.