Over 22,000 cops to guard Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad on July 7

Extra care will be taken to manage the crowd in view of the recent stampede in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras.
Last Updated : 04 July 2024, 11:42 IST

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Ahmedabad: The 147th edition of the annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath will take place on July 7 in Ahmedabad where more than 22,000 security personnel will guard the event which draws lakhs of devotees, an official said on Thursday.

Extra care will be taken to manage the crowd in view of the recent stampede in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras where more than 100 persons were killed, Ahmedabad Commissioner of Police GS Malik said at a press conference here after holding a review meeting with nearly 600 police officers.

This time, police will use face detection cameras to identify criminals by matching people's faces in crowds with the database, he said.

The police will also deploy 20 drones and some balloon-mounted cameras to keep a watch on the people's movement, the official said.

He said companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), such as the BSF and Rapid Action Force, and 35 companies of the State Reserve Police (SRP) will also be deployed on the 16-km yatra route and at key locations.

Each company usually comprises 80 to 90 security personnel.

"More than 22,000 security personnel will be deployed along the Rath Yatra route and other important places on July 7. These include 12,000 personnel from regular police force, 6,000 Home Guards, 11 companies of CAPF and 35 companies of SRP," Malik said.

Of these, 4,500 personnel will walk with the procession on the entire route while 1,931 personnel will be deployed for traffic management, he said.

"We will take extra care to avoid any stampede. We will put barricades wherever needed to regulate the entry and exit of people. We will divide people in batches instead of allowing everyone to enter at the same time," Malik said.

Senior police officials will keep a close watch on the procession using 1,733 body-worn cameras linked to a control room.

Nearly 1,400 CCTV cameras installed by shopkeepers on the route will also be used for live surveillance, the official said.

A live feed of the Rath Yatra will be provided to the police control room, a special control room at the Circuit House, DGP office and the chief minister's office in Gandhinagar, he said.

An official release said on Wednesday said 20 drones and 96 surveillance cameras will be installed at 47 locations on the route.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Wednesday reviewed the security preparedness for the mega religious event in a meeting which was attended by various officials including Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi and Director General of Police (DGP) Vikas Sahay.

Malik made an elaborate presentation during the meeting on various security aspects of the Rath Yatra, said the release.

To address any medical emergency, 16 ambulances and medical teams at five government-run hospitals will remain on stand-by. Also, 17 help desks will be set up on the entire route to help citizens, it said.

As per the decades-old tradition, the procession, led by chariots, would start early at around 7 am from the 400-year-old Lord Jagannath temple in Jamalpur area and return by 8 pm after traversing different localities in the Old City, including some communally sensitive areas.

The procession usually consists of 18 decorated elephants, 100 trucks and 30 'akhadas' (local gymnasiums).

The raths (chariots) of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra will be pulled by Khalashi community members as per the age-old tradition.

Lakhs of people gather on both sides of the route to have a glimpse of the deities.

Published 04 July 2024, 11:42 IST

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