Security tightened as annual Kanwar yatra begins

#dailynews60 : The annual kanwar fair is set to begin Wednesday and security has been tightened on routes to be used by Shiva devotees to collect sacred waters of the Ganga river from Har ki Pauri and other ghats here.

Around 10,000 police and para-military personnel, including bomb disposal and anti- terrorist squads have been deployed along the routes besides installation of CCTV and drone cameras on chosen locations in the fair area to maintain a tight vigil, IG (law and order) Ashok Kumar said.

Police personnel in plain clothes have also been deployed at sensitive spots to keep an eye on suspicious activity, he said.

An estimated three crore Kanwariyas are likely to descend on Haridwar during the Kanwar mela this year which will conclude on July 12.

The city has been divided into 12 super zones, 31 zones and 133 sectors for crowd management.

Addressing sectoral magistrates and police officials in Rishikesh, Kumar asked them to use the social media platforms fully to keep kanwariyas informed about the arrangements and the route plans and avoid last minute confusion.

With the iconic Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh closed recently due to safety reasons, the route plan for kanwar yatra has had to be slightly changed.

Kanwariyas on foot will be sent to Neelkanth Mahadev temple via Ram Jhula and Mauni Baba cave. On their way back, they will be sent to Rishikesh barrage road, IG Garhwal range Ajay Rautela told reporters.

Meanwhile, all vehicles will go to Neelkanth temple through Rishikesh barrage and return via Garudchatti bridge to Natraj chawk from where they can leave for their destinations, he said.

Devotees have been asked by the police not to consume alcohol.

They have also been advised not to overload on two-wheelers and four-wheelers besides not to travel on the roof of trains.