Three crore devotees expected to throng Maha Kumbh

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Allahabad
  • |
  • Updated: Feb 10, 2013 11:37 IST
  • Hindu priests perform evening prayers on the banks of the river Ganges on Makar Sankranti, one of the Kumbh Mela festival's main bathing days in ...

  • Securitymen keep vigil as devotees gather at the banks of river Ganges in Haridwar.

  • Devotees gather to take a dip in the Ganges river on the first day of the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.

  • Devotees bath in the Ganges river on the first day of the Kumbh Mela or the pitcher festival in Haridwar.

  • Devotees perform evening prayers on the banks of the river Ganges on Makar Sankranti.

  • Devotees gather on the banks of the river Ganges in Haridwar. Around 10 million pilgrims were expected to celebrate the Kumbh Mela religious festival.

  • Devotees and priests offer prayers on the banks of the river Ganges in Haridwar.

  • A family offers prayers while taking a dip in the River Ganges on the first day of the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.

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.”

 

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