Amid auspicious ‘Ami Chhatna’ 140th rath-yatra concludes peacefully,Lord to wait for entry into temple till tomorrow

Ahmedabad: The commandos of the National Security Guard (NSG) have been put on stand-to for use in case of need during the 140 th rath yatra of the historic Jagannath temple here, and this is first time ever that NSG have been involed in security of the famous chariot procession which draws crowds of lakhs of people and passes through sensitive routes.

IG of police J K Bhatt today confirmed that NSG have been kept on ‘stand to’ for use in case of any emergency if needed. ‘NSG is never deployed anywhere for security but its used when an emergency situation arises. We have kept it on stand to. It is first time that the NSG has been involved for rath yatra security,’ he said.

The IGP did not reveal the reason for the move but it is understood that the police and the government do not want to take chances with the security during the event involving very large gathering especially.

NSG, a task oriented force, was set up in 1984 as a Federal Contingency Deployment Force to tackle all facets of terrorism in the country. The primary role of this Force is to combat terrorism in whatever form it may assume in areas where activity of terrorists assumes serious proportions, and the State Police and other Central Police Forces cannot cope up with the situation. The NSG specially equipped and trained to deal with specific situations is used only in exceptional situations. The Force modelled on the pattern of the SAS of the UK and GSG-9 of Germany, is not designed to undertake the functions of the State Police Forces or other Para Military Forces.

Over 21000 security personnel including 6 Joint Commissioners of Police (JCP), 36 DCP’s, 80 DySP’s , 222 PI’s and 728 PSI’s have been deployed for security. Para Military forces including the anti riots RAF apart form 23 companies of State Reserve police force (SRP) have also bee deployed. The route is also being kept under aerial surveillance through drone cameras and other devices. Plain clothed security personnel have been deployed in the sensitive areas of the yatra route to thwart any untoward incident.

The rath yatra (chariot procession) of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balram and sister Subhadra from historic Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad started this morning amid tight security and chants of Jai Ranchhod Makhanchor and Jai Jagannath by sea of devotees after the traditional Pahind Vidhi (the ritual of cleaning the route of procession in the temple premises in the morning before its start with a golden broom) by chief minister Vijay Rupani. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, Minister of state for home Pradipsinh Jadeja and Minister of state Shanker Chaudhary and Nirmalaben Wadhvani along with Mayor Gautam Shah were also present on the occasion in the temple premises in Jamalpur area of the city. Earlier BJP president Amit Shah participated in the Mangala Aarti in the temple.

Elaborate security arrangements were in place for the procession of the three main chariots of lord Jagannath, brother Balram and sister Subhadra which also includes 19 elephants, 101 decorated trucks as chariots, 18 bhajan mandalis, 30 akhadas and large number of saints and itself was around one kilometer in length while the to and fro route from the temple in Jamalpur to Mosal in Saraspur is around 18 km long. Tableau showing various achievements of ISRO and the valour of armed forces have also been included in the procession.

The rath yatra which has started in the morning from the temple (Nij Mandir) for mosal (Saraspur) will return to nij mandir (the temple in Jamalpur) late in the night. Lakhs of devotees and onlookers throng the route of procession to have a glimpse of lord. Every year it is held on the Ashadi beej day of Gujarati Calendar.

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