State police and Central forces have launched a special security system at Sabarimala on Saturday afternoon in the backdrop of the 17th anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya that falls on Sunday.
However, the holy hillock witnessed heavy rush as devotees consider Saturday as an auspicious day for worship at Sastha temples. The queue for holy darshan was extended beyond Marakkoottom on the traditional trekking path, two-and-a-half kilometers away from the Sannidhanam on Saturday evening. Each pilgrim was subjected to thorough security check-up before permitting to ascend the holy 18-steps.
Special Commissioner appointed by Kerala High Court, M.Rajendran Nair and Inspector General of Police, G.Baburaj, are camping at Sabarimala Sannidhanam to monitor the security arrangements at the pilgrim centre.
Mr Baburaj, accompanied by the Police Special Officer at Sannidhanam, V.K.Girijanathan Nair and the Special Officer at Pampa, Ramdas Pothen, inspected various sensitive points at Sabarimala and Pampa as part of a security review.
The Deputy Inspector General of CRPF, K.V.Madhusoodhanan, also visited Sabarimala to review the security cover at the pilgrim centre. Armed Rapid Action Force personnel have been deployed at all key points at Sabarimala and Pampa, including the premises of Ayyappa Temple and Malikappuram Devi Temple at the Sannidhanam and at the Pampa Ganapthi Temple premises.
Commandos of State Rapid Action Force too have been deployed at the Ayyappa Temple premises. NDRF deployment National Disaster Response Force personnel too have been deployed at strategic points to meet any eventuality, said Mr Deepak Dev Menon, NDRF Commander.
Every Sannidhanam-bound pilgrim was diverted through the door-framed metal detectors kept at Pampa, Neelimala-Bottom, Valiyanadappanthal and at the Northern gate and their shoulder bags were examined with the help of X-Ray units as part of the security arrangements.
The Special Commissioner told The Hindu that the State Police as well as the Central forces have taken every humanly possible measures to ensure the safety of the pilgrims and security of the temple. Police personnel from the neighbouring States of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have been deployed as spotters in different parts of the pilgrim centre.
Bomb squads have conducted periodic screening of various points at the Sannidhanam where pilgrims throng in large numbers. Steps have also been taken to check ghee and flowers brought for abhishekom at the Ayyappa Temple.
Pilgrims with out carrying Irumudikkettu will not be permitted to enter the temple premises on Sunday owing to security reasons, said the Police Special Officer.