NSG commandos carry out mock drill at Shirdi Saibaba temple

Shirdi, Dec 3 (PTI) A National Security Guard team, comprising 160 commandos, carried out a mock drill in the premises of the world-famous and heavily patronised Sai Baba temple in Shirdi in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district, an official said.

The drill, in which a team of NSG commandos had to ferret out and neutralise seven 'terrorists' hidden in the premises, started at 9:30pm on Monday and went on till 2:30am on Tuesday, he said.

These seven 'terrorists' were hidden in the queue of devotees, the sprawling administrative building and some other nooks and corners, Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust chief executive officer Deepak Mugalikar said on Tuesday.

'After the aarti, lights of the temple were switched off late night, five entrance gates were closed and traffic on Ahmednagar-Manmad Road was diverted. Street lights in the vicinity too were switched off while the drill was underway,' Mugalikar said detailing the preparations.

The drill saw commandos reacting to a series of 'bomb blasts', simultaneously dealing with the perpetrators militarily while also rehearsing a scenario of evacuation of some of their colleagues who sustained 'injuries' in the action, an official said.

The mock drill ended in the early hours of Tuesday with commandos managing to eliminate the seven adversaries, the official said.

The drill also saw the participation of specialised anti-terror units of Maharashtra police like the Quick Response Team (QRT), local police teams and SSST's security apparatus.

The temple premises of Shri Saibaba is spread over approximately 200 square metres.

On an average, 25,000 devotees visit the temple daily, the number reaching a lakh per day during festive seasons and auspicious days. PTI COR BNM BNM