Hyderabad: In the wake of the mass shooting at two mosques at Christchurch in New Zealand in which 50 persons were killed, Hyderabad police has further beefed up security in and around the historic Macca Masjid. Though there is no specific input to suggest a terror threat, the Hyderabad police do not want to leave anything to chance.
According to sources, soon after the New Zealand attack, senior police officials held a meeting during which it was decided to take up precautionary measures in and aro-und the premises, especially on Fridays, when the mosque witnesses huge gatherings, running into thousands of people.
A police official said that besides increasing the number of policemen in mufti who have been asked to remain inside the mosques during pray-ers, more so on Fridays, a police picket is being stationed outside the mosque.
“It is a precautionary measure. It is always better to be prepared,” said a senior police official when asked about the new security measures. Already, a large number of policemen are deplo-yed every Friday -- as has been the drill over the last many years -- as security measures, especially after a bomb blast took place in the Macca Masjid on May 18, 2007. There are teams of Rapid Action Force (RAF), Task Force apart from policemen drawn from different police stations of the south zone.
Special branch personnel, another wing of the Hyderabad police, have also been asked to step up vigil in the vicinity of the mosque. Importantly, patrolling has further been intensified during the time prayers are held at the place of worship.
Charminar division Assistant Commissioner of Police B. Anjaiah said, “Security is always high in and around the Macca Masjid. A total of 28 poli-cemen guard the premises in three shifts with an incharge officer. There are 43 CCTV cameras in and around the mosque which are continuously monitored and there are five doorframe metal detectors besides four-hand held metal detectors.” He said that in view of the elections, flag marches were being conducted in key places in the old city.