Bihar to have CCTV cameras at Mahabodhi, Vishnupad temples

Patna, June 3 (IANS) CCTVs will be set up at Bodh Gaya’s 1,500-year-old Mahabodhi temple, Buddhism’s holiest shrine, and at the famous Hindu temple of Vishnupad in Gaya, Bihar’s Urban Development Minister Prem Kumar said Monday.

The minister said such a move has been necessitated by the perception of threat of a terrorist attack at these places. “I have instructed district authorities to install CCTVs at Mahabodhi temple and Vishnupad temple soon for security reasons,” Kumar said.

Kumar, who represents Gaya in the state assembly, told IANS over telephone: “CCTVs will not only keep a watch on suspicious activities, they would also record everything as proof.”

Kumar said authorities at the two holy sites have been asked to identify locations where the cameras could be installed, including at points of entry and exit.

Gaya Superintendent of Police Ganesh Kumar said that he had held discussions with the minister Sunday, and an agreement was reached that the cameras would be installed soon.

Last year, security of the Mahabodhi temple was handed over to the Special Task Force (STF) of Bihar Police.

The temple at Bodh Gaya was built at the spot where the Buddha attained enlightenment 2,550 years ago. It was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2002.

Vishnupad temple, which is visited by thousands of Hindus from India and abroad, is on the hit list of terror groups. The temple is dedicated to Hindu god Vishnu.

An annual fortnight-long Pitrapaksh, during which Hindus make ritualistic offering “pindadan” for the salvation of their forefathers, takes place at the temple.

It sees thousands of Hindus from across India and even abroad gather in this town, about 100 km from state capital Patna.

The prayers at Vishnupad temple are performed by priests known as Gaywal-pandas.

Legend has it that Lord Rama and his wife Sita performed this religious rite for King Dasharath, Rama’s father, at this place.

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