KERALA

Commandos deployed in Sabarimala

Staff Reporter

PATHANAMTHITTA: The first batch of eight commandos of the State police who are trained at the National Security Guards Training Centre was deployed at key points in Sabarimala on Saturday in view of the 13th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.

According to Sannidhanam police special officer A.R. Ajithkumar, the commandos have been deployed at the holy 18 steps, the northern gate of the Ayyappa temple, Malikappuram and at some other key points at the Sannidhanam. Besides, a special intelligence squad headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police and other security arrangements are in place to thwart any untoward incident at Sabarimala.

Mr. Ajithkumar said the security at the Sannidhanam had been shored up with a 200-strong additional police force. Nobody will be allowed to enter the premises once the temple is closed after athazha puja from December 5 to 7 as part of the security arrangements.

Police special officer at Pampa Jose George said that commandos would be deployed on the Ganapati temple premises and at vital installations such as water tanks, Kerala State Electricity Boards's sub-station and transformers and pumping stations of the Kerala Water Authority during the period.

According to Mr. George, those going to the Ganapati temple or the Neelimala hills will have to pass through door-framed metal detectors kept on the way. A bomb squad has been deployed at Pampa and bags and baggage of the pilgrims and others will be subjected to security check-up. If necessary, the police will inspect the sacred `irumudi.'

Mr. Jose said that special police teams would be deployed at bathing ghats, the Pampa Manalpuram and the Balippura during this period. The bomb squad will conduct surprise inspections at the vehicle parking lots in Pampa. Drivers of the vehicles parked at Pampa and Nilackal should not leave the vehicle. Special police teams from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka will join the special squad at Pampa on December 5.

He said that pilgrims would not be allowed to camp on the Ganapati temple premises or in the Anjaneya auditorium.

Devaswom staff, temple employees and Government employees on Sabarimala duty should properly display their identity card on their chest. Identity card has been made compulsory to headload workers, dollymen and workers attached to the shops and business establishments at Pampa and along the trekking path. Use of pack donkeys and trolleys for transportation of goods will not be allowed at Pampa during these days.

Vehicular traffic on Triveni bridge has strictly been banned during the period.

Meanwhile, the Special Commissioner appointed by the Kerala High Court, D. Sreevallabhan, has directed the police and the Travancore Devaswom Board authorities not to permit parking of any vehicles on the Pampa Ganapati Temple premises.