Kerala seeks RAF and IB service for Sabarimla festival

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Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 24 (UNI) Kerala has requested the Centre to make available the service of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) as part of providing foolproof security to pilgrims visiting the famed Sabarimala Ayyappa temple during the coming Mandala-Makaravilakku festival season, State Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said today.

Talking to reporters after a high-level conference of heads of various departments, he said heightened security was required at Sabarimala in the context of recent terrorist strikes in different parts of the country.

Mr Balakrishnan said 3,000 policemen would be deployed during the festival and if required more would be posted. Neighbouring states would be asked to send their police force to help the devotees coming from their respective states, he added.

Two police barracks would be constructed at Nilakkal to accommodate policemen on Sabarimala duty. The Travancore Devaswom Board, which administers the Sabarimala temple, has to provide required land for the barracks.

Mr Balakrishnan said the Railways had been asked to run more special trains from different parts of the country during the festival and open new ticket counters at Thiruvananthapuram, Chengannur and Kottayam considering the expected rush of pilgrims during the festival.

UNI CGV SY AS1527

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