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Be polite but firm, Jaipur top cop to personnel ahead of JLF

The Jaipur police will provide three-layered security to the festival.

jaipur Updated: Jan 24, 2018 21:44 IST
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajput Karni Sena,Padmaavat,Prashoon Joshi
Preparations afoot at the Diggi Palace in Jaipur. (Himanshu Vyas /HT )

“You are the brand ambassadors of Jaipur for the next five days,” is the direct message of Jaipur Police Commissioner Sanjay Agarwal to the hundreds of police personnel entrusted with ensuring the security of the Jaipur Literature Festival that kicks-off at the Diggi Palace here on Thursday morning.

The annual gathering of writers and book lovers witnesses a footfall that ranges in hundreds of thousands over the five days and has been a centre of protests at several occasions in the past. This time around, with the Shree Rajput Karni Sena going on a rampage in many parts of the country against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmaavat”, the authorities are taking additional precautions to prevent any untowardly incident. Notably, Mahipal Singh Makrana, the president of the fringe group, has warned it will protest against the presence of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Prashoon Joshi at the festival.

Jaipur LIterature Festival 2018 volunteers at the Diggi Palace in Jaipur. ( Himanshu Vyas\HT Photo )

This is the twelfth edition of the festival and you are aware that it represents Jaipur. The festival is associated with the feelings of our people and attracts thousands of tourists to Rajasthan. It is a festival of our home and we must work accordingly,” Agarwal told the police personnel in a briefing at the Diggi Palace on Wednesday.

He elaborated that every single police personnel represents the Jaipur police and they must be at their best discipline throughout the festival. “Along with ensuring the security, we also must see that the people visiting here have a good experience. So you need to be polite to visitors,” he said. The commissioner said that the Jaipur police will provide three-layered security to the festival. There will be police personnel at the entrance, as also at the surrounding high-rise buildings, inside the venue in uniforms as well as civvies and dozens of CCTV cameras will monitor all the venues throughout the five days.

“Be polite but firm. If there’s any problem, inform your seniors. There’s no challenge that Jaipur police cannot overcome. We are prepared for everything,” he said, before explaining that there will be bomb and dog squads to assist them but, in his own words, “it is the men in uniform who first sense any trouble”

“In case there’s any problem, contain it there so that it does not disturb the entire festival,” he said.

Responding to a question on the threat posed by Shree Rajput Karni Sena, the commissioner said: “Jaipur is a tourist destination and several festivals happen in the city. I am sure JLF will go well. We have a three-layer security and the organisers have full support of the state government and police headquarter”.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Gaurav Srivastava further highlighted that some visitors to the festival may disagree with speakers and they are within their rights to express their dissent. “Every person has the right to use their freedom of expression and express their dissent or protest. But nobody has the right to take the law in their hand. If anything of this sort happens, intervene and contain it before it’s too late,” he advised the police personnel during the briefing.

The extravaganza will witness participation from hundreds of literary stalwarts and will reach its culmination on January 29. ( Himanshu Vyas\HT Photo )

Along with Jaipur police, a private security agency has also been roped in by the organisers to ensure that the festival “reaches to its logical conclusion”. Added to this is the 600-member volunteer’s team of the festival who have been trained and walked through the emergency exits. Every session will begin with an audio-visual (in Hindi and English) showing the directions to emergency exits and other security advisories.

“We have strengthened deployment at the festival and have conducted a full security round with the concerned officers. We have also brought in two companies of Rajasthan Armed Constabulary along with Emergency Response Teams to counter any security issue. We have also installed face recognition camera to identify potential miscreants,” said Additional Commissioner of Police Nitin Deep Blaggan.

First Published: Jan 24, 2018 21:44 IST