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Madurai temple to get CISF protection
by Nirmala Joseph February 10, 2018
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CHENNAI: The famous Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai, where a fire mishap occurred last week, will be put under protection of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

The move follows an order from the Madras High Court in response to a petition filed by a social activist. The protection will be on the pattern followed in the Kashi and Tirupati temples.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which deals with terrorist cases, had done an inspection at the Madurai temple after the blaze in its eastern part, that gutted several shops inside the temple premises. The shops have since been evacuated. Officials from the revenue department led the eviction of close to 115 shops, assisted by police and temple officials.

The High Court has also directed that devotees should not be allowed to use cellphones inside the temple premises and a special counter to keep the mobiles should be built.

The court asked how the high-rise buildings near the temple were allowed when there is a ban on tall buildings within a kilometre of the temple.

The judges also directed the state government to identify other temples that should be given CISF security. A panel has to be formed for that.

High technology CCTV cameras should be installed in the temple, the court said. It pointed out that electrical wirings in the temple are too old and should be replaced.

A panel of MLAs also visited the temple on Friday and carried out inspections at the Veera Vasantharayar Mandapam located on the eastern entrance of the temple.

They inspected ten other locations, including the government hospital and hostel.

Meanwhile, a minor fire broke out in the CCTV control room of the Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple on Thursday. The fire was caused due to short circuit and was immediately doused without causing any major damage.

Madurai District collector Veera Raghava Rao had earlier said that a team, including officials from electricity department, endowment board engineers and temple engineering architects would restore the mandapam to its original grandeur. The temple had enough funds to undertake the work, he said.

Primary finding on the Feb.2 blaze is that it was also due to an electrical short-circuit in one of the shops near the 1,000-pillar hall of the temple. About 40 shops were gutted, but there were no casualties.

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