Simhastha-Kumbh: Ujjain gears up for world’s largest religious gathering

With expected footfall of around five crore, authorities have made a number of arrangements for security and crowd management

GN Bureau | April 21, 2016


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The holy city of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh is set to hold the Simhastha-Kumbh Mela starting from April 22. In the world’s largest religious gathering, nearly five crore devotees are expected to take part till May 21. For an event of such a grand scale, both the state government and the Centre have taken a number of measures for security and  smooth functioning.

The Indian Railways have pitched in, anticipating the volume and pattern of rail traffic at Ujjain railway station and adjoining stations. Some of the steps include improvement of shelter at platforms, development of sitting space with sheds and constructing additional foot over-bridges.

This year, for the first time, many eunuchs will be participating in the rituals of the Kumbh Mela.

About 25,000 security personnel have been deployed to check law and order and monitor the crowd. Around 500 CCTV cameras have been installed at various locations around the area. Help from bomb detection and disposal squads and sniffer dogs will also be taken to check any explosives. Authorities have roped in snake-charmers and experts to prevent snake bite.

The official website of the Simhastha Mela has also provided with emergency numbers – of police stations, fire brigade and civil hospital – for devotees participating in the event.

Many of these steps have come up as the state government does not wish to replicate the tragedy of the 2013 Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. On February 10, 2013, a stampede broke out at the Allahabad railway station, leaving 36 people dead. The stampede apparently broke out after a railing on a footbridge collapsed at the station. However, it was alleged that the stampede occurred because of the railway police who charged at the crowd with batons to control the huge rush at the station.

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