Terror threat shadows Jagannath rath yatra festivities

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Bhubaneswar, Jun 21: With the famous Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra all set to begin today (Jun 21), all necessary arrangements have been made. Around 10 lakh devotees are expected to converge in Puri to witness the massive and extravagant rathotsava. But the festivities were blurred after the Odisha DGP MM Praharaj said that there was a terror threat to the famous rath yatra from extremist groups.

Odisha DGP has advised people not to panic and to stay alert. Praharaj has been quoted as saying, "We have intelligence inputs of a possible bomb blast in Puri."

Eight thousand security men have been deployed that also includes coast guard patrols off the coast. The annual rath yatra began in Puri, Odisha and Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Wednesday saw Gujarat CM Narendra Modi performing the sweeping of the chariot ritual. He also stated in the auspicious occasion, "I pray to Lord Jagannath that Gujarat which has been successful in attaining new heights of development with peace, unity and sadhbhavana should prosper and progress more with the lord's blessing. On the occasion of rath yatra, I pray at Lord's feet that even this year the rains should be good during the monsoon."

The 14-km route of the procession will pass through communally sensitive localities in the Gujarat like Kalupur, Prem Darwaja, Delhi Chakla, Dariyapur and Shahpur, amidst robust security arrangements. The 135th rath yatra in Ahmedabad will see as many as 20,000 policemen including homeguards, SRPs and para-military deployed. For the first time, GPS and hidden cameras will be used by the Gujarat police to aid security efforts.

OneIndia News

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