Authorities install security cameras in Varanasi to foil militant attacks

Last Updated: Thu, Aug 16, 2012 10:21 hrs

Authorities her have installed 14 close circuit television cameras at major intersections to ward off possible militants attacks.

State Public Works Department and Irrigation Minister Surendra Patel, inaugurated the installation of security cameras.

Speaking to media, Patel said the cameras have been installed at crossings, ghats along the River Ganga, some markets and sensitive roads where criminal activities take place repeatedly.

"These cameras along with recording and telecasting will be connected to the internet, through which these videos can be viewed in Lucknow as well. Any official ranging from chief secretary to chief minister and any of the ministers will be given connections. So, when these cameras will be connected to Internet, so we can view the footage of any of the crossroads. The main aim is to stop anti-social elements from carrying out any subversive activity," said Patel.

The CCTV network would also help in monitoring the activities of the junior policemen and small time crooks.

The administration is also making efforts to encourage showroom owners, traders associations, banks and other commercial establishments to install cameras as it would help in monitoring the activities taking place in and around their buildings.

These cameras would help in solving cases of militant attacks, as the city has been vulnerable to in the past few years.

However, most cases of militant attacks are not solved due to lack of leads.

Patel said presently 19 cameras have been installed on experimental basis and in the near future more would be installed at all the important and sensitive places.

"The district administration has given permission for 19 cameras and if this effort would be successful then in the days to come, these cameras would be installed at every crossroad in the Varanasi city, every temple and mosque. So, that each and every movement in the city is recorded and monitored by officials," said Patel.

With hundreds of temples and shrines, Varanasi, on the sacred Ganges river, is the centre of Hinduism. Pilgrims flock to the city for a dip in the river, which they believe will wash away their sins.

Local residents appreciated the effort, saying this would help to foil attacks by militants.

"The city has been on the radar of militants. A blast occurred in 2005 at a ghat, in 2006 the blast took place in the Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple, in 2007 a blast took place in court premises and in 2010 a blast occurred at the Dashashwamedh Ghat. So, this would put an end to the serial blasts being carried out by the militants every year," said a local, Vivek Shankar Tiwari.

India remains jittery about the threat of militant strikes, especially since the Mumbai attacks in November 2008 which killed 166 people and raised tensions with arch rival Pakistan.

Three blasts killed at least 15 people and wounded 60 in Varanasi in 2006. In February, a powerful blast ripped through a restaurant in the western city of Pune, killing 17 people, the first major attack since Mumbai.

Two small bombs killed at least one person and injured 15 outside a packed cricket stadium in the southern software hub of Bangalore in April.

The wave of attacks stirred fears India may not be able to completely secure its cities from Islamist militant attacks as well as radical Hindu groups.

New Delhi says Pakistan-based groups aid and train militants to carry out attacks against India, a claim Islamabad rejects.

Investors closely monitor any signs of an escalation in tensions between India and Pakistan, two nuclear-armed rivals who have fought three wars.(ANI)

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