Rapid Action Force to be deployed in Sabarimala during pilgrimage

September 18th, 2008 - 10:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) The Rapid Action Force (RAF) will be deployed at the Kerala hill shrine of Sabarimala during the two-month festive season to ensure security, it was decided at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Principal Secretary T.K.A. Nair here Thursday.However, participants at the meeting attended by Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, expressed unwillingness over providing the service of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to guard the temple.

It was also decided to start more train services to Kerala during the pilgrimage, connecting the main cities of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The meeting gave the green signal to the state government to construct a helipad in Nilakkal near Pamba, an important place related to the Sabarimala temple.

The airforce would provide a helicopter during the pilgrimage, an official said.

The Sabarimala temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, is surrounded by mountains and dense forest and situated at an altitude of 1,260 metres in the Sahya hilly regions in Pathanamthitta district.

Representing the Kerala government, additional chief secretary K. Jayakumar and Director General of Police (DGP) Raman Srivastava attended the meeting.

The two-month festival season begins in mid November this year. The temple is visited by millions of pilgrims from south Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

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