Tight security for all-woman �pongala� fest

Thiruvananathapuram, Feb 7 (PTI) Taking into considerationthe Pullumedu stampede tragedy which claimed lives of 102Sabarimala pilgrims last month, police and other stateagencies have decided to step up security and crowd managementand traffic control measures for the "Pongala festival" of thefamed Attukal temple, which attracts one of world�s largestcongregation of woman devotees here every summer.

Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan today attended ameeting of top police officers, temple authorities and electedrepresentatives to discuss the security issues of the festivalwhich falls on February 19 this year.

As a religious event that draws highest number of women ona single day, Pongala has entered into Guinnes Book of WorldRecords. �Pongala� is a ritual performed by women topropitiate Goddess Bhagavathi, the presiding deity of theshrine located in the city on the penultimate day of the10-day festival.

This year, two police control rooms would be set up tomonitor the event closely and deploy sufficient number ofpolice,fire force and medical personnel.

In the initial phase from February 11 to 17, a total of 800police personnel would be put on duty under three AssistantCommissioners.

In the final stage, when devotees congregate from differentparts of Kerala and the neighbouring state, a total of 3000personnel would be deployed under 16 DYSPs, 31 CircleInspectors, 7 Women Circle Inspectors, 97 Sub Inspectors, 22Women Sub Inspectors, 58 ASIs.

Besides, 200 Traffic Police personnel would be deployed forcontrolling the Traffic. ADGP G Chandrasekhar and IGPadmakumar would review the situation during the festivalseason and provide additional forces if required, templesecretary K P Ramachandran Nair said.

Circuit cameras would be installed at various spots as partof the security measures and also check incursion ofanti-socials and pickpockets into the festival area.

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