Ahmedabad Cops Conduct Foot Patrolling Ahead of July 1 Rath Yatra

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Ahmedabad Cops Conduct Foot Patrolling Ahead of July 1 Rath Yatra

|Ahmedabad | Updated: June 5, 2022 20:20

The Ahmedabad Police on Saturday night conducted foot patrolling in parts of the city to review the security arrangements and ensure smooth conduct of the 145th Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath, the annual procession to be taken out here on July 1.

This is for the first time that the police personnel engaged in the rath yatra’s security will be equipped with body-worn cameras, Ahmedabad Police Commissioner Sanjay Srivastava told reporters after the patrolling held late Saturday night. Police officials will also get information about security aspects of the procession on their mobile phones, he said.

The rath yatra this time will be organized with all the traditional fanfare after a gap of two years when it was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Traditionally, the procession, led by chariots, starts early at around 7 am from the 400-year-old Lord Jagannath temple in the Jamalpur area and returns by 8 pm, after passing through various areas of the city and covering a distance of 19 km.

Lakhs of people gather along the route on the ‘Ashadhi Beej’ every year to catch a glimpse of the procession, which includes decorated elephants and several tableaux.

Ahmedabad Police Commissioner Srivastava and several other security personnel took part in the foot patrolling late Saturday night on the traditional route of the procession, which passes through several communally sensitive areas.

Later, Srivastava told reporters that an action plan has been prepared to ensure the rath yatra is conducted peacefully. He said the idea behind the patrolling was to make police officials aware of the sensitive areas, the issues and social elements they need to be cautious about, and what all is required to be done to ensure proper security for the event.

”The entire planning is being done and preparations are underway since over a month,” the official said.

In April this year, communal clashes were witnessed in the Khambhat and Himmatnagar cities of Gujarat during the Ram Navami processions. One person was killed and several properties were damaged in the violence.

Last year, the rath yatra of Lord Jagannath was allowed with restricted participation and strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols. In 2020, only a symbolic rath yatra was held in the Lord Jagannath temple premises after the Gujarat High Court denied permission for the usual public procession in the wake of the pandemic.

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