Vice-President’s visit coincides with Ganesha fete procession on September 10
Traffic in the capital is likely to be thrown out of gear on September 10 with the Vice-President’s official visit to Thiruvananthapuram coinciding with the pageantry marking the conclusion of the Ganesholtsavam.
No fewer than 700 decorated vehicles carrying the idols of the deity is scheduled to move in a procession from East Fort via Palayam for the idol immersion ceremony at Shanghumughom beach. Hundreds of people are likely to accompany the procession on foot, scheduled to commence at 4.30 p.m.
Vice-President Hamid Ansari is expected to arrive in the city around the same time and the police have to keep the route “free and sanitised” for the safe movement of the VIP motorcade. The procession will not be allowed to pass till the motorcade reaches its destination.
Senior police officials told The Hindu that they have asked the organisers of the festival to start the procession only after 5.30 p.m. On the basis of certain intelligence reports and the communally tense law-and-order situation in Nedumangad, the police have asked them to ensure that the participants do not resort to communally provocative actions, including sloganeering.
The police said they had told the festival organisers that they would be named as first accused if the conduct of the festival, including the worship of idols in public places, resulted in a law-and-order situation. Idols that impeded pedestrian and vehicle movement would be removed. “We will serve the organisers, patrons and sponsors of the festival a notice to this effect under the relevant provisions of the law immediately,” an official said.
The pageantry should adhere to all the High Court directives regarding processions. Participants should not appropriate the entire carriage way, should leave one track of the road open to traffic, and allow pedestrians and vehicles to make crossings. Public address systems should not be used on moving vehicles.
The police would record the registration numbers of vehicles, which violated the order. Drunk and riotous behaviour would not be tolerated.
Armed police units
Armed police units from other districts would augment the strength of the city police constabulary on September 10. The police have also requested the service of an additional district magistrate to legally empower the law enforcement to tackle any law-and-order situation. The Bomb Disposal and Detection Squad (BDDS) will check the procession route. No roadside parking of vehicles will be allowed along the procession route.
The police will also give organisers a deadline to wind up the immersion ceremony. The Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) and Commando elements of the police will be put on “stand to” alert for rapid deployment on September 10.