TVM city police chief seeks ‘no-fly zone’ over Padmanabhaswamy Temple

The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Photo: Shutterstock/alionabirukova

Thiruvananthapuram: The Thiruvananthapuram City Police Commissioner has recommended to the Director General Police to enforce a ‘no-fly zone’ over the Padmanabhaswamy Temple.

The Commissioner’s move follows an incident on the night of July 28 when a helicopter owned by a private firm circled five times above the temple, where a treasure worth lakhs of crore rupees is stored. Even though the temple premises were declared a high-security area after the valuables were discovered in 2011, a no-fly zone was not implemented.

High security
The temple has been guarded by the Kerala Police since 2011. Initially, a 230-member team headed by the City Police Commissioner was in charge of security. Currently, around 50 police commandos and nearly 100 other police personnel are on duty.

Bollard system has been installed at all main entry gates of the temples and side roads. Surveillance cameras, bulletproof sentry points, mobile jammers, metal detectors and equipment to inspect the underbody areas of vehicles are among the other security measures in place. Bomb and explosive detectors and electronic and circuit checkers are also installed. Hydraulic crowd control device is yet another feature of the temple. All the expenses for these arrangements are met by the state government.

Vaults with treasure
The ancient temple has six vaults and in two of them, items used for daily rituals are kept. In two other vaults, items related to the temple festival such as golden pots, parasols, plates and adornments are stored. These two vaults are opened five times every year. 

However, the two remaining vaults – named A and B – were reportedly not opened for 150 years before 2011. In that year, one among these two vaults was opened based on an order by the Supreme Court and tonnes of antique golden jewellery and precious stones valued at lakhs of crore rupees were discovered.

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