Members of the SGPC task force checking bags of devotees at the entrance to the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Wednesday. (Sameer Sehgal /HT)
Security has been beefed up in and around the Golden Temple Complex after DGP (intelligence) Dinkar Gupta wrote a letter to Amritsar police commissioner SS Srivastava to strengthen the arrangements on Tuesday, saying that a bomb threat had been received. The letter also directed the police to carry out a comprehensive anti-sabotage check in the area.
“Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Kirpal Singh Badungar called up ADGP (security) on September 5 (Tuesday) evening and informed him that Talwinder Singh Buttar, press reporter at Anandpur Sahib had called him. Talwinder quoted a call that he had received about a bomb being placed at Sri Darbar Sahib…. it was also mentioned that bombs could also be placed in gurdwaras in Punjab subsequently…you are advised to immediately review and strengthe security arrangements at Golden Temple. A comprehensive anti-sabotage check of the entire area may also be undertaken immediately,” the DGP’s letter reads.
Indicating that the letter had been taken seriously, a visit to the Golden Temple on Wednesday showed that the number of security personnel deployed had been increased. In fact, police sources said that a search operation had also been launched on Tuesday night around the complex. No pilgrim was allowed to pass without getting his bags checked.
A task force of the SGPC was also seen frisking and checking visitors to the temple.
Meanwhile, Amritsar police commissioner categorically ruled out that there was any threat to the Golden Temple. “Vigil has been heightened around the shrine and other parts in the city due to the approaching festival season,” he said, adding that he was not aware of any bomb threat.
Sources with the state police told HT that the intelligence wing of the department had started an inquiry to trace the original caller who spread the hoax. “Counter-intelligence officials have been asked to conduct an inquiry.”