Bengaluru is on high alert following the serial blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. Police have deployed additional forces in all areas they deem sensitive.
At a meeting on Thursday, City Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar told religious institutions, hotels, transport corporations, malls and other public places to install CCTV cameras, deploy more security personnel, and carry out regular security checks.
Metrolife contacted the commissioner on Saturday, and he set out a plan for all public places.
“According to the Karnataka Public Places Security Act of 2017, institutions and places with 500 footfalls a day should install CCTV cameras at all entry and exit points. Metal detectors and baggage scanners should also be mandatorily installed,” he says.
He also says no items of baggage should be allowed inside religious institutions without rigorous checks.
“The baggage has to be checked with metal detectors and baggage scanners, and only then let in. If an institution can’t afford scanners, they should strictly ban all baggage,” he says.
He says shrines and religious institutions should be extra careful, given the threat perception.
“In many religious places, especially temples, only the front is lit. The backyard is left dark. Anything can happen here. This should be rectified,” he says.
Travellers who stay at choultries should be asked for their identity cards. Managements should get in touch with the police immediately if they find anything suspicious, he says.
Suneel Kumar also urges those managing public spaces to be in touch with the police for necessary precautions.
Hotels and corporate offices should check everyone, even if the face is familiar, he says.
People should not take offence at being checked or frisked as it is for their own safety, he advised.
“Bengaluru is a growing city. Being on the world map, the inflow of people from various states and countries is more than one can count. With these security measures, we are not trying to scare people, but creating awareness about what they already know,” he says.
Security has been heightened at the railway station, bus stops and other major spots in the city which see high footfalls.
Kempegowda International Airport
Kempegowda International Airport is monitored by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
Airport officials have issued an advisory asking passengers departing from Bengaluru to start early and be prepared for longer wait times for security check on account of a high-security alert.
“It continues to be on high-security alert, based on a pan-India notice issued by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security in March 2019. The high-security alert at BLR airport might lead to additional wait time, queues and delays. We are working hard to ensure your safety. Passengers are advised to plan their travel accordingly,” says a BIAL spokesperson.
Kempegowda bus terminus
An official says KSRTC is on high alert with 45 security officers being on duty on each shift from day to night. Any person or box or baggage that looks suspicious is being checked.
“Our dog squad comes every day and takes a round twice a day. City police’s special all-women team Obavva Pade is also deployed,” says the security official. The Kempegowda bus terminus has 32 CCTV cameras.
BMTC has around four night round vehicles. An official who did not want to come on record told Metrolife that the security officials are on CCTV cameras all the time and that if they find anything suspicious, they are immediately checked.
“BMTC receives the highest footfall per day. We cannot check each and every one. We have around 100 security officials deployed at each shift and they take rounds every hour and hence safety will be intact,” he adds.
KSR (city) railway station
A top official says the railway authorities have been on high alert for a month. “From baggage scanners to civil security officials taking rounds, we have everything planned,” he says.
“Unauthorised entry and exit points at the railway station are being taken care of now.”
The Iskcon temple in Rajajinagar is a major tourist attraction.
Temple officials say it is under strict supervision and many security officials are on duty.
The Indian government has advised people not to undertake any ‘non-essential’ trip to Sri Lanka.
Fake call alert
Karnataka police have arrested a 65-year-old Swamy Sundara Murthy, an ex-army man, for making a hoax call about possible terror attacks in three states.
He had called from Hosur on Friday, five days after the Sri Lankan bomb blasts that killed 253 and injured over 500 people.
Murthy said Pamban Bridge, which connects Rameswaram to the Tamil Nadu mainland, would be among the places to be targeted.
This made the police carry out extensive searches in the area, and that included checking every vehicle.