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Maha Shivratri celebrations begin amid tight security in UP

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Lucknow, March 8 (IANS) Huge crowds thronged the Shiva temples across Uttar Pradesh since midnight on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri.The Kashi Vishwanath Dham in Varanasi and the Mankameshwar temple in Lucknow, in particular, witnessed a massive turnout of devotees on the occasion.A heavy deployment of police has been made across cities and towns like Varanasi, Barabanki and Baghpat, where Kanwariyas converge in large numbers.UP Director General of Police (DGP), Prashant Kumar, said that special arrangements have been made along Kanwar routes and at prominent Shiva temples in Varanasi, Lucknow, Barabanki, and Baghpat.Additionally, a significant number of police personnel, including superintendents, deputy superintendents, sub-inspectors, head constables, and constables, along with traffic police and bomb disposal squads, have been deployed to maintain order and security.In Lucknow, the joint commissioner of police (law & order), Upendra Kumar Agarwal, directed the identification of 26 main temples in Lucknow with significant devotee gatherings, including Buddheshwar Mahadev Temple in the Para area and Mankameshwar Mahadev Temple in the Hasanganj area.Additional police forces have been deployed to ensure security and smooth traffic flow around these temples.The DGP announced the strategic deployment of 241 companies across sensitive districts by the police headquarters.These companies comprise personnel from the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), and Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).”Special focus is being given to securing Kanwar routes and prominent Shiva temples in key areas like Varanasi, Barabanki, and Baghpat,” said the DGP, adding that “In addition to armed forces, we have mobilised additional police personnel, including two superintendents of police, five deputy superintendents of police, 85 sub-inspectors (SI), eight women SIs, 275 head constables and constables, and additional traffic police personnel to manage the expected influx of devotees.”To ensure safety during the ‘Jalabhishek’, vigilance along riverbanks has been heightened to prevent drowning incidents.Quick response teams have been deployed, and district police chiefs have been instructed to identify and closely monitor potential trouble spots.–IANSamita/dpb

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