Temple trust to arm itself with 20 AK-47s

The Siddhivinayak temple trust will have its own security squad which is capable of handling terror-like situations.

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The Siddhivinayak temple trust will have its own security squad which is capable of handling terror-like situations. With the state government approving the plan in principal, the temple trust is all set to buy 20 AK-47 rifles and appoint 40 trained security personnel. The squad, equipped with the latest arms and ammunition, will be on par with the police force in technical terms.

Temple trust has time and again expressed concern over the security of the temple that attracts 1.5 million devotees on the auspicious days of chaturthis. The issue was discussed in a meeting headed by deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal and attended by Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor, additional commissioner Sadanand Date and officials from the Law and Judiciary department on Thursday in the Mantralaya. The trust was asked to go ahead with its plan of appointing its own squad.

According to Siddhivinayak trust officials, the temple is currently being guarded by 310 security men including police personnel, guards from private agencies and temple employees. Of the 200 cops posted, five guards have AK-47s, while others are equipped with rifles and other weapons. The trust had sought 10 more guards with AK-47 rifles, which the police had reportedly denied. Consequently, the temple trust chalked out its own security plan.

“Currently we have 50 employees and 60 guards from a security agency deployed at the temple premises. With the government approval, we will appoint the squad that will be trained by police and deployed according to the security plan chalked out by the police. Ours will be the first security squad in the state to have AK-47s,” said Subhash Mayekar, chairman of the trust.

The temple trust has been asked to appoint an official from the police department to head the squad appointed by it, said Hasan Mushrif, minister of state for law and judiciary.

The trust also has sought permission from the government to auction the ornaments that are received by the temple in donations.
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