Ahmedabad Jagannath chariots to have surveillance cameras

June 18th, 2009 - 6:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, June 18 (IANS) The annual Rath Yatra here next week will have extraordinary security arrangements including micro surveillance cameras on Lord Jagannath’s chariot.
The mammoth wooden chariot will have at least 50 such cameras-cum-mikes transmitting real-time imagery, a senior official in the city police headquarters involved with the security arrangements for the journey told IANS Thursday.

The yatra, drawing the second biggest crowds in the country after the one at Puri in Orissa, will be held June 24. Following a more than a century-old tradition, it passes through the old city including areas identified by police as communally sensitive.

In the past, communal clashes have taken place during the procession, necessitating security arrangements.

The police official said that after the July 26 serial blasts in Ahmedabad and the Nov 26 Mumbai terror attack, the new technology has replaced conventional methods of surveillance, which required deploying hundreds of policemen atop buildings and among the crowd.

“For years it was simply a waste of time gathering information from hundreds of wireless sets with policemen who walked with the crowd as the procession passed through various parts of the city. The cameras to be installed on the chariot in various angles would now let the police control room personnel keep track of the procession,” said the official who did not wish to be named.

A total of 15,000 policemen will also be deployed when the chariots of Lord Jagannath and his brother Balaram and sister Subhadra are pulled by devotees. A sizeable share of the policemen would be from the State Reserve Police (SRP) besides a few contingents of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), he said.

The routine checking of guests in hotels and guest houses have already started, the official added.

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