With just days left for 2016’s Kumbh Mela to begin, Police said that there will be no special treatment or attention for VIPs this year.
Every year VIPs – politicians, industrialists, movie stars or other known celebrities – are used to getting special treatment during the key bathing days at the Kumbh melas.
PTI – Actress Preity Zinta with Swami Chidanand Saraswati during Maha Kumbh Mela
These celebs this year would have to fend for themselves even as the great Hindu festival kicks off in Haridwar on January 14.
PTI – Ekta Kapoor, Emraan Hashmi and Huma Quraishi during Maha Kumbh Mela.
Police said they are “overburdened” and thus would not be able to provide the stars with any additional security cover.
Looking at the situation, the police officials have issued an advisory describing their inability and advising the VIP’s not to take any chances with security cover.
Taking about the issue, G.S. Martolia, IG (Ardh Kumbh) said:
“We have issued an advisory and made it very clear that if a VIP or a VVIP is coming to take a dip in the Ganga on key bathing days, they should make the required arrangements themselves.”
Martolia then added that the force would be “overburdened with security work” this year especially keeping in mind the alerts that have gone out after the Pathankot attack and the arrests that have been made of the alleged Pakistani spies.
With over 5 crore devotees expected to land in Haridwar for the over four-month-long festival, the police wants to take no chances and would be on their toes guarding critical areas.
The top police authorities responsible for maintaining security of the mela
do not want to spare any additional personnel for ‘VIP duty’, which comes at the expense of routine cover.
An average of 7,000 to 10,000 police and paramilitary men are expected to keep a watch on Kumbh this year in Haridwar. The mela itself would be spread out over an area of nearly 132 square kms.
The mela will start on January 14 and will go on till April 22. There are 10 key bathing days of Kumbh that will see a turnout of over 25 to 50 lakh pilgrims every day.
The first significant bathing day or ‘mukhya snan
‘ is January 14 – on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. The last being April 22 – on the occasion of Buddh Poornima.
The maximum number of devotees are expected to take a dip in the Ganga on Makar Sankranti, Maha-Shivratri (March 7), Mesh Sankranti (April 14) and Ram Navami (April 15).
With regards to security, the police would also keep in mind the Kumbh Mela of 2010, when over 1.5 crore pilgrims took a dip in the Ganga on the last three key bathing days alone.