Security up in Puri ahead of Rath Yatra

Bhubaneswar, July 12 (IANS) Security has been increased in Orissa’s Puri city ahead of the annual nine-day chariot festival of Lord Jagannath beginning Tuesday that is expected to draw nearly a million devotees.

More than 5,000 policemen have been deployed across the city to maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incident, a police official said Monday. Hundreds of policemen in plainclothes will also be on duty in Puri, some 55 km from here.

The Rath Yatra marks the annual journey of the three deities from the 12th century Jagannath temple in three splendidly decorated wooden chariots.

More than a dozen closed circuit security cameras have also been installed at various places to keep a watch on troublemakers and manage crowds, the official said.

He added that bomb detection and disposal squads and fire tender units are also ready to meet emergencies.

The coast guard, which has stationed a ship in the Bay of Bengal close to the Puri coast, has also intensified patrolling along the sea route, he said.

The Rath Yatra is spread over the summer and monsoon months in the temple city. The chariot festival is held during the month of Ashadha (June-July) of the Indian calendar. This year the festival will be held July 13-21.

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