Sunday, November 19, 2017
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The biggest bathing day of the Magh Mela. Mauni Amavasya, falls tomorrow. And if the authorities concerned are to be believed, foolproof arrangements have been made on all fronts to ensure that the bathing festival passes off peacefully.

No vehicle will be allowed this time. That is final. Even the  cars of officials will not be permitted. That is as it should be because in the past it was noticed that official cars were in some cases used more for carrying families or friends of the officer concerned  and less for official movement. Sometimes several official cars in a row would cause acute traffic problems. This ban would hopefully  help in the elimination of all irritants and facilitate  free and smooth flow of traffic. I do hope that this will not turn out to be another example of wishful thinking.
The other day it was also claimed that security has been beefed up in every nook and corner of the mela. I would request the authorities concerned to first find out whether the administration has made any arrangement to scan through the beggars who can be seen moving with impunity all over the place even when begging  has been banned.
The risk is not from genuine beggars. I want to warn against the possibility of  crooks, pimps, abductors prowling in the mela in the guise of saints and sadhus. The police officials have claimed that there is no terrorist threat to the Mela. We would hope that  they are  proved correct, But doubts will keep on lingering because in this era of fake products, we cannot overlook the possibility of fake beggars, fake sadhus, fake godmen and so on. In the past there were cases when Sadhus were alleged to have kidnapped  children, put them in their sacks and were moving to their destination when a child’s cry from inside a sack exposed them. That is  why I say that strict vigil will have to be  kept  on the Mela.
The risk is also acute from gangs indulging in women trafficking. Mela is a happy hunting ground for such characters.  And one thing should be noted. These kidnappers need not be men. They can be women too. In fact these women crooks  achieve  bigger success than their male counterparts because no one suspects them. These women could be in the saffron clothes so that none may suspect them. They know the art of fooling the  public on the one hand to evade discovery and on the other are fully trained in enticing the gullible..

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