Unprecedented security for Ardh Kumbh mela
Ardh Kumbh Nagar, Jan 13: An unprecedented security arrangementhas been made in and around the Ardh Kumbh mela area ahead of the firstShahi Snan (Royal Bath) tomorrow amid information that terrorists couldstrike in disguise of sadhus.
With many Shankaracharyas, mahants of various akharas and thesaints, including some celebrities like Swami Ram Dev, Morari Bapu,residing in the mela area, the Uttar Pradesh government is leaving nostone unturned to ensure fool-proof security.
The elite group of 'terrorist spotters' has already been deployedat sensitive spots and an intensive checking is on as more than fivemillion pilgrims are expected to take a holy dip in Sangam, theconfluence of three rivers -- the Ganga, the Yamuna and the mythicalSaraswati.
As per the information received by the Ardh Kumbh administration,there was an apprehension that terrorists could be present in the garbof sadhus and pilgrims and to spot them would be an ''uphill'' task forthe police.
Anti-mine equipment, anti-sabotage and quick Response Teams (QRTs)have been pressed into service to combat any untoward situation, thehighly placed sources told UNI here.
The Army has also been put on high alert with its secuirty weaponry and expertise, the sources said.
Meanwhile, the mela administration banned the entry of vehicles inthe mela area from this afternoon. Earlier, it was scheuled to prohibitvehciles from this evening, but due to certain security reasons, theauthorities changed the schedule.
Sector five, where all the thirteen akharas are situated, is underthe security agencies scanner while special attention was being givento the security of Mahadev temple, Hanuman temple and Kalyan mandap inview of the terrorist attacks on religious places.
The Chief Secretary Naveen Chandra Bajpayee and UP DirectorGeneral of Police (DGP) Bua Singh reviewed the arrangements hereyesterday.
Over nine hundred million devotees are expected to visit themonth-long Ardh Kumbh, held every six years on the banks of Sangam.
The mela, which started on January 3 with first auspicious bathingon Paush Purnima, will have Makar Sankranti (January 14 and 15), MauniAmavasya (Jan 19), Basant Panchami (Jan 23), Maghi Purnima (Feb 2) andMaha shivratri (Feb 16) as other main bathing days.
The secuirty arrangements would be on real test on the MauniAmavasya day when about ten million pilgrim are expected to take a holydip in the sacred waters of Sangam.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ardh Kumbh, Rajiv Sabbarwalrefused to divulge on the intelligence input about the terroristattack, but said the Mela police was fully equipped to thwart anynefarious design.
He said all the entry points of the Mela had been tighetned interms of security as well as suspected vistors were being friskedthoroughly.
The vigil is being further augmented as the pilgrims in largenumbers have started flocking the mela area a day before the firstmajor bathing day.
As many as 28 police stations, 35 police outposts, 26 firestation, five police lines and five missing and found centres havealready been opened in the mela area, including ten anti-sabotage team,to keep a vigil on the activities of suspected and anti-socialelements.
Ten companies of PAC, three companies of BSF, 24 companies ofCRPF, five companies of river police, besides 11,000 jawans of civilpolice, homeguards are manning the mela site.