ISKCON Worries about Rath Yatra Security
BY: SUN STAFF CORRESPONDENT
Jun 14, 2012 JAGANNATHA PURI, ORISSA With just five days to go until Rath Yatra, functionaries at the ISKCON temple in Bhubaneswar are concerned about security and traffic management. Though preparations for the mega festivity are in full swing, the alleged molestation of a woman television journalist during the 2010 Ratha Yatra continues to worry the ISKCON temple organizer. This apart, the spurt in snatching incidents in the city has put the shrine authorities in a spot of bother.
"Since the temple is located on the side of NH in city, crowd management and traffic snarls are the major problems we face every year. On Thursday we will convene a meeting with the city police officials seeking their help for a hassle-free Rath Yatra," ISKCON Temple President Dhruva Maharaj das said.
The meeting will also be attended by Bhubaneswar's Mayor, representatives of fire services, works and public health division departments. "This time we will urge the state government to provide us two ambulances and water tankers," Das said.
Though the chariot festival is observed at different places in Bhubaneswar, the ISKCON temple's Rath Yatra is the major crowd puller. The shrine authorities expect a footfall of around two lakh pilgrims on June 21st.
"Miscreants would try to make the most of the crowded festival. We request the devotees to take adequate precautions to avoid any untoward incident," Das said.
The alleged molestation of the scribe was the dark side of the 2010 Rath Yatra. Two policemen of India Reserve Battalion (IRB) left the department red-faced after allegedly molesting the woman journalist in the crowd. Police had arrested the two errant cops.
"There is no need to panic. There will be toned-up security arrangement for an incident-free car festival," twin city Police Commissioner Sunil Roy said.
As per tradition, the Deities of ISKCON temple will be taken in a boisterous procession to the newly built Gundicha temple in Unit-VIII area.
Rath Yatra will be celebrated with fanfare at eleven other places in Bhubaneswar, as well. "We have so far received 11 applications from different resident welfare associations seeking security and traffic arrangements," a police officer said. Barring a few, almost all organizers have used the same chariots used in the previous car festivals.
"All arrangements have been made to the tee. Local youths and children are busy decorating the chariot. This time we enhanced our budget and would hire artists to blow conch and beat cymbals during pulling of the chariot," said Biswajit Pattnaik, general secretary of Niladri Vihar Youth Association.