Kumbh: 3 crore devotees expected on Mauni Amavasya
The Mauni Amavasya bathing festival has always witnessed the biggest turnouts.
Allahabad: Devotees are arriving in large numbers in the city for the auspicious bathing day of Mauni Amavasya on Sunday during the ongoing Maha Kumbh congregation at the holy Sangam. Devotees, including women and children, have been arriving in Allahabad as well as in the trans-Ganga and trans-Yamuna regions from where people, mostly rural folk, are walking miles, to find a place in the vast city of tents that has come up in the vicinity of the confluence of the two rivers.
The Mauni Amavasya bathing festival, when "naga sadhus" have their second "shahi snan" after Makar Sankranti, has always witnessed the biggest turnouts and according to Divisional Commissioner of Allahabad, Devesh Chaturvedi, who is the nodal officer of the Maha Kumbh, around 3 crore devotees are expected to take a holy dip on Sunday.
Tight security arrangements have been put in place to tackle law and order problem and prevent stampedes and thwart any terrorist activity. According to Senior Superintendent of Police (Kumbh Mela), RKS Rathore, commandos of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the Central Reserve Police Force and the Anti-Terrorism Squad have been deployed in sufficient strength at the sprawling Kumbh area of about 6,000 acres.
They will be assisted by more than 5,000 policemen drawn in from various parts of Uttar Pradesh and 4,000 personnel of Provincial Armed Constabulary. Dog squads and bomb disposal squads have also been pressed into service, while watch towers have been established at various points from where security personnel will be having a bird's eye view while remaining in touch with control rooms for necessary action.
CCTV cameras have also been placed at various places to keep a tab on the movements of the people. Vehicular traffic has been banned since Saturday morning in the Kumbh area where a SP, an ASP, three Deputy SPs, five Traffic Inspectors, 10 Traffic sub-inspectors and 200 Traffic Constables have been deployed to take care of crowd management.
According to Kumbh Mela Officer Mani Prasad Mishra, "an appeal has been issued to all VIPs to either refrain from visiting the congregation tomorrow, or if they must do so, not to expect the special security arrangements which are made available on normal days."