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Security tightened at Taj Mahal, Agra Fort

May 23, 2008. Following intelligence inputs that terrorist outfits may target Agra, Mathura and Aligarh Friday, the police beefed up security at the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort while combing operations were carried out in different parts of the city.

Additional Director General of Police Atul, who reviewed the security arrangements three days ago in Agra and had detailed discussions with the new IG Zone, the DIG, the Archaeological Survey of India and CISF officials, was not fully satisfied with the existing state of preparedness, according to senior police officials.

On Thursday night, the police launched one of the biggest search operations in Agra, apart from maintaining vigil at bus stands and railway stations. 

Bomb disposal squads have been stationed and a sharp eye is being kept on all cyclists after the use of bicycles in the recent Jaipur blasts.

Agra senior superintendent of police Mohit Agarwal told mediapersons Thursday evening that no vehicle would be allowed to proceed towards the Taj till it was searched. 

The railway security office in Aligarh received a message from a terrorist outfit some days ago saying they would target installations in Aligarh Muslim University, the Taj and the Fort in Agra and the Sri Krishna Janambhoomi in Mathura in addition to trains and stations. 

The Taj Mahal is closed to tourists on Fridays, but opens for two hours in the afternoon for Namaz. "These two hours will be the real test for the security agencies," said an official.

The state home ministry has alerted the security agencies to gear up for Friday. The city of the Taj has been sealed and a close watch is being kept on movement of vehicles. 

All religious areas were under security scanner. Scores of barriers and barricades have been put up all over the city. Army units have been alerted too.

On Thursday, an intelligence input suggested that a group of terrorists, including a woman, had left Dehradun for Agra. Guru-e-Hind, a new outfit, had sent a message declaring their intent to create trouble Friday. 

The police sources indicated security arrangements had been tightened for the first time in Bateshwar, 70 km from Agra. Bateshwar is a famous religious centre for Hindus and Jains with 101 Shiva temples in a row along the river Yamuna.



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