Tens of thousands of devotees thronged Prayag to take a holy dip at the Sangam on Mauni Amavasya, considered the most auspicious day of the Kumbh Mela on Sunday.
Security arrangements have been beefed up further as the festival comes a day after the hanging of Afzal Guru, who was convicted for his central role in the Parliament attack case.
A special group of security experts is keeping watch on the multitudes, who have already started arriving, from its perch atop Allahabad Fort. A room at the fort is embellished with three LCD screens showing various parts of the mela area. They are getting live feeds from the Long-Range Reconnaissance and Observation System, a sensor system able to provide daytime and night-time surveillance.
Courtesy these gadgets, a security personnel sitting in the room can identity a suspect, zoom in on him and follow his activities up to a distance of around 12.5km and, if necessary, alert a security team and guide it to the individual.
On their part, the district administration ensured the identity of guests in hotels, lodges and dharamshalas was checked on the eve of the big day.
Kumbh Mela officer Mani Prasad Mishra said, “An appeal has been issued to all VIPs to either refrain from visiting the congregation Sunday, or if they must do so, not to expect the special security arrangements.”