chop socky flick post of the day
...well, once again, not really, but a headline for which the screenplay simply writes itself: Black Belt Priest to Watch Indian Shrine
NEW DELHI, India - Armed guards are forbidden inside one of India's most revered religious shrines. So authorities want to assign its security to a trusted insider: a Hindu priest with a black belt in karate.
K. Seshadri, 42, has been asked by officials at the Venkateswara temple in the southern city of Tirupati to teach younger priests to defend themselves and the temple from terrorists and other attackers, The Hindustan Times reported Tuesday.
The temple, located in Andhra Pradesh state, is visited each day by some 30,000 devotees who worship the Hindu god Venkateswara.
The state government's security adviser asked Seshadri to train the young priests, who will form an inner ring of protection around the idol, Seshadri said.
"Since regular security guards can't enter" the inner sanctum, then priests "trained in karate would be ideal substitutes," Seshadri was quoted as saying. "They will be in a better position to prevent any intruders from gaining access to the idol or its proximity."
The Venkateswara temple is reputed to be the world's richest Hindu temple. It gets so many donations that workers use a conveyor belt to transfer the cash, jewels and other offerings to a separate storage building.
Security has been raised at Hindu temples after a terrorist attack at the Swaminarayan Temple in the western Gujarat state last September by suspected Islamic militants, in which 32 people were killed.
Seshadri, a first dan black belt, plans a five-day training session every month. However, the Tirupati administration hasn't promised him a permanent job if he leaves his current job as a priest at another temple in southern India.
Seshadri practices each day, aiming for the second degree black belt, and is training his son and daughter as well.
(cross-posted at Destroy All Monsters)