Keeping The Faith
As many as 30,000 security personnel have been put on duty, including police, paramilitary, rapid action force, special task force, anti-terror squad, army jawans, as well as intelligence sleuths who man the mela area round the clock. “As many as 30 police stations have been set up across the 52 sq km area of the mela, besides 85 CCTV cameras and 59 watch towers to supplement these arrangements,” says Alok Sharma, IG Allahabad zone, adding that a seven-tier security system eliminates any threat of lawlessness.
SP Ganganath Tripathi adds that security personnel have been specially sensitised to deal with pilgrims. “The pattern of duty here is different from general policing. So we had to instill in the forces that their duty here has so much to do with protecting the faith of millions irrespective of the odds. It is our duty to ensure that their faith is reciprocated,” says ADM Ashutosh Kumar Dwivedi, adding that by doing this, the jawans also become “punya ke bhagidaar”.
Kamal Asthana, a pilgrim from Rajasthan, is happy with the tight security arrangements. “It is good to see the security forces in action all the time. Our car was frisked at many points to ensure that we were not carrying anything illegal,” he says.
Planning and preparations for the mela began in September, right after the monsoon was over
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