Tuesday, January 16, 2018
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mela pilgrims


People plan their train or bus journeys in advance. Seats must already have been booked by those desirous of taking a holy dip in the Triveni on the opening bathing day of Makar Sankranti which is not far off. Daily we keep on reading reports about the cancellation of some trains or gross delay in the arrival of some others.

If those coming here for Makar Sankranti bath  get stranded midway, won’t they miss the auspicious moments? I wish someone would advise them to start their journey earlier than planned so as to be sure that even the delayed train will reach Allahabad on time for the Makar Sankranti bath. Those planning air-journeys may also be in for big disappointment because foggy weather could hamper the flights. Buses will fare no better.
I need hardly add that we are passing through a very severe cold wave.The other day mercury slumped to 2.2 degree Celsius and if weather experts are to be believed, the temperature may dip further.  Winds coming from Himalayan region are too strong.  Chill will continue so long as humidity levels are high, say experts.
One cannot be sure as to when it may come down to rain. But if that happens the misery of the people will increase manifold. In the drizzle even bonfires won’t  be possible unless they are placed under a cover. But then people will rush  to these shelters in large numbers to warm themselves and this could lead to the problem of over-crowding at such spots.
As it is, several people have already died from cold in the state. We must fully safeguard ourselves against any such possibility striking the mela area in a big way.
I don’t know whether people will be scared by reports about Allahabad too becoming a rape centre and therefore cancelling their trip to the city. The devout may not do so. But many among the thousands of foreigners who are coming may do so on learning about gang rapes in the holy city. As was reported earlier, both America and Britain have alerted their citizens to be cautious while, visiting Delhi. Normally Allahabad might have gone unnoticed but one private TV channel  with global viewership the other day flashed the story of a gang-rape in the holy city. That may or may not deter the pilgrims who have nothing else but the Ganga dip in mind. But can we say the same for others who give as much importance to their security as to their hunt for salvation?


UP alerted against terror plans to disrupt Maha Kumbh

Central agencies have alerted Uttar Pradesh DGP Headquarters, state intelligence quarters and ATS(Anti-terrorist squad) twice during the last 15 days about the activities of terrorist outfits  out to disturb peace  during the Maha Kumbh.  This goes to show that the situation might be pretty serious. If the news has leaked out and appeared in the press it is presumably to ensure that should anything happens because of local neglect, the authorities concerned will not be able to say that they were not informed. The crucial Mela period will be between Januaryu 14 and March 10. The ATS, which has link with Central agencies is said to be finding itself handicapped by shortage of manpower. A week ago, a team of ATS Commandos led by Deputy SP Anurag Darshan arrived in the Mela. A report says that the ATS has been without an IG for over three years and the SSP’s post has been lying vacant too. Against the requirement of nine Deputy SPs, there are only four. The squad is headed by DIG Rajeev Sabharwal. But he was recently promoted as IG and is awaiting his new assignment.
ATS has an important role to play. It may be recalled that it was set up by the previous Government of Mayawati after the serial blasts in the district courts of Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi in November 2007.
The terrorists or their sleeping modules can do anything to create disturbances. In the Mela the police say that they are keeping an eye on every patch of earth. The modules  may therefore ignite trouble in the city to divert the attention of the police from there. They might be planning things on the supposition that in case of any tension in the city the mela police would be rushed to the disturbed localities; and that would be an opportunity which they may exploit in the mela area much before reinforcements arrive.
We have to take care of the security of Allahabad and the Mela area from all angles. Sudden  blasts in the interior of the city by mischief mongers can create havoc. If the ATS is under-staffed, it should send an SOS for deployment of more men here on priority bases. In fact  jawans from other cities if not States should also be rushed to the city. We should not forget that when crores of people will be assembling in Allahabad, it would for some fraction of days, become the most populated city in the country.

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