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Monday, 30 September, 2002, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK
Indian temples offered insurance
Indian special police guard Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar
Militant attacks have opened a new market for insurers

A leading Indian insurance company is offering to insure temples against possible militant attacks.

The Oriental Insurance Company has approached several Hindu and Jain temples in the state of Rajasthan to offer them cover.

Women on their way to temple in Jaipur
Many devotees attend temples in Rajasthan
The move follows a militant strike on the famous Akshardham temple in the neighbouring state of Gujarat last week.

The General Manager of Oriental Insurance Company, Suparas Bhandari, told the BBC that in view of the "changing scenario" they were now offering insurance cover to famous temples and shrines against possible militant attacks.

Emerging market

He said many temples had bought insurance against natural calamities and accidents, but this was the first time in India that insurance cover was being made available against militancy.

"We are contacting temples attracting large number of devotees", Mr Bhandari said.

The company had insured the Akshardham temple in Gujarat where a militant attack last Tuesday left more than thirty people dead.

The temple had a total insurance cover for two-and-a-half million dollars.

Indian soldiers patrol outside a temple in Bhopal
Police are on high alert around India
Mr Bhandari said they were "assessing the damages and will pay the compensation soon".

Officials of the insurance firm said so far only one temple - Birla Mandir - in the capital Jaipur is insured against fire.

They said they were trying to sell cover to another famous temple in the city - Govind Dev Mandir - which is visited by more than fifteen thousand people every day.

They said similar talks were on with the management of several ancient Jain temples in the state.

Gujarat conflict in-depth

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27 Sep 02 | South Asia
25 Sep 02 | South Asia
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25 Sep 02 | South Asia
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