27 Jul 2022

Undercover Cops Join the 'Kanwar Yatra' and maintain law and order

As the Kanwar Yatra reaches its peak, police in parts of western Uttar Pradesh have donned the guise of Kanwariyas to join the processions to rein in law and order, according to officials.
Hundreds of policemen in Muzaffarnagar, who wear saffron T-shirts with shorts or sweatpants, joined other "Bholes", as Kanwariyas are fondly called, officials said.

During the Kanwar Yatra, devotees of Lord Shiva, especially in North India, walk to Haridwar, Gaumukh etc. in Uttarakhand to get water from the river Ganges in the auspicious Hindu month of Shravan. They then offer holy water to Lord Shiva at home.

Security has been beefed up in the district with thousands of policemen on duty even as drones have been deployed for aerial monitoring and surveillance to maintain law and order, a senior official said.

“Muzaffarnagar on the UP-Uttarakhand border is a key district for the annual pilgrimage of 'Shivbhakts' as every pilgrim on the Jatra to Uttarakhand must pass through it. This district has about 50 km of road sections which form the Kanwar routes. ” the official told news agency PTI.

After bringing the 'Gangajal' from Uttarakhand, the Kanwariyas will reach Muzaffarnagar and then disperse to Meerut, Shamli, etc., while the locals move to Shiv Chowk, among other prominent temples in Muzaffarnagar, the official said.

"Security arrangements have been beefed up. Apart from normal deployment, about 400-500 policemen in Kanwariyas attire are taking part in the procession to monitor the law and order situation," the official said, requesting anonymity.

The official said the deployment of police in the guise of "Bholes" has been a routine practice for the past few years.

The undercover personnel remain under the district's jurisdiction as they mingle with the Kanwariyas during their foot marches, the official said.

"Around 750 CCTV cameras have been placed at various strategic locations, drones have been deployed to monitor crowd gathering at key locations and markets. The CCTV cameras are IP controlled which can be accessed by authorized persons from remote locations also through mobile phones," the official said.

When contacted, Muzaffarnagar Superintendent of Police Vineet Jaiswal said that thousands of pilgrims pass through the district during the Kanwar Yatra and adequate security measures have been put in place.

"Police personnel have been deployed along Kanwar routes in large numbers and have been instructed to ensure smooth movement of Kanwariyas," Mr Jaiswal told news agency PTI.

"We are following the instructions of the state government to ensure that law and order remains in check and strict action is taken against any person who intends to cause trouble," said a police officer.

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