If Ardh Kumbh is a test of the efficacy of security and intelligence agencies, the three-day third World Hindu Conference will be posing even a greater challenge to the security personnel. Reason: Nearly 50 prominent VHP leaders who may be on the hit list of terror outfits will be gathering on the banks of the Sangam from February 11, says SSP BD Paulson.
"Though we are still awaiting the list of the persons facing life threat, there are roughly 50 persons who may need special security coverage in case they do not come with their security men. However, criticism of special security cover for some from other Hindu outfits has sent alarm bells ringing in police circles," he added.
A police officer said that devotees had come to the Ardh Kumbh with the sole aim of attaining 'moksha' following a dip in the holy waters. He said that the occasion was not one of condemnation but this time it would be different. "Pent-up feelings and anger may surcharge the atmosphere and this is bothering the cops," he added.
VHP president Ashok Singhal, Dr Praveen Togadia, KC Sudarshan, Mohan Bhagwat, Sadhwi Ritambhara and some others are on the hit list of terror outfits since long. On their part, the organisers themselves are not taking any chance with regard to the security angle. They have issued ID cards even to a labourer working at the site.
As many as 60 small cities will be coming up on more than 300 acres of land provided by the administration and each city will have nearly 1,000 volunteers deputed as self-styled cops, said a VHP spokesman.