To thwart any untoward incident during the annual Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad on June 25, over 20,000 police and para-military personnel as well as NSG commandos will be deployed. For the first time, a company of National Security Guards (NSG) will be roped in to guard the 140th Rath Yatra for which lakhs of devotees are expected to descend on the streets on Sunday, a release issued by Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said. Recently, NSG’s newest hub was operationalised near the state capital Gandhinagar. Apart from NSG commandos, there would be 26 companies of para-military forces such as CRPF, Rapid Action Force and Border Security Force.
The Rath Yatra procession generally stretches as long as 1.5 km and winds its way along a 15 km route through the walled city before returning to Jagannath temple in Jamalpur area after almost 12 hours. Main feature of the procession are chariots of Lord Jagannath, his brother Lord Balbhadra and sister Goddess Subhadra. Security is always tight as it passes through some communally sensitive areas. According to Jadeja, a total of 20,034 policemen and other uniformed men will secure the route.
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Five joint commissioners of police, 42 deputy commissioners of police, 101 assistant CPs and 298 police inspectors would supervise the security. Personnel from State Reserve Police Force would also be there. The procession this year will have 18 elephants, 101 trucks, seven cars, members of 30 `akhadas’ and 18 bhajan mandalis.
The procession is taken out every year on Asadhi Bij, the second day of the month of Ashad as per the Hindu calender. The Yatra will begin at 7 am on Sunday after `Pahind’ ceremony (symbolic cleaning of the road ahead of the Yatra) which will be performed by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and deputy CM Nitin Patel, said the Jagannath temple trustee Mahendra Jha.