LUCKNOW: North-Eastern railways (NER) on Wednesday issued an alert regarding possible terror threat over Kumbh Mela, one of the biggest congregations of humanity, commencing in Prayagraj from January 14. As per the highly-placed sources, the alert was issued by the authorities on the basis of inputs of intelligence agencies provided to NER divisional headquarters at Gorakhpur.
Moreover, NER divisional security commissioner had put district administrations of 16 districts around Prayagraj on high alert by issuing an advisory. The districts put on alert include Prayagraj, Deoria, Gorakhpur, Ballia, Ghazipur, Mau, Varanasi, Mirzapur, Bhadohi, Jaunpur, Azamgarh, Kushinagar, Maharajganj. Rest three districts on alert are Chhapra, Siwan and Gopalganj in Bihar.
The Divisional Security Commissioner is believed to have shot off letters of advisory to the DMs and SSPs of the respective districts urging them to spruce up the security measures in the wake of upcoming Mela. In fact, the crowd pressure of various railway stations of eastern UP has increased in the recent past with devotees trickling in large numbers from different states.
According to PRO, northern railway, the authorities have made elaborate arrangements on Prayagraj railway station to accommodate around 10,000 devotees at a time. Even a considerable chunk of passengers is expected on other railway stations adjoining Prayagraj. In all around 15 crore, people are expected to visit Prayagraj during Kumbh.
However, UP DGP OP Singh claimed on Wednesday that the state police had made hi-tech security arrangements for Kumbh. Besides, the permanent deployment of NSG commandos and aerial surveillance through drones, the state government has also sought Centre's help to keep the Mela area -- spread over 3,200 hectares on the banks of rivers Ganga and Yamuna-- secure.
The Anti-Terrorists Squad (ATS) of Uttar Pradesh Police has deployed its sleuths in the mela area in advance a month before the start of the mega event. In all, 40 police stations in the city and Mela area have already come up and they will remain connected to Quick Response Teams (QRT).
This time, the authorities have made special arrangements for crowd control and Kumbh bound special buses and trains would also be run to ferry the devotees. The authorities were cautious while making all the arrangements in order to avert any 2013 like stampeded on Allahabad Railway station where at least 42 persons had died and 45 injured during Kumbh Mela on February 10, 2013. "The state government has taken all the step in consonance of the recommendations of judicial commission which probed the reasons of 2013 stampeded," said a senior mela authority official.