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Devotees throng Allahabad for 2nd major 'snan'; security tightened

Devotees throng Allahabad for 2nd major snan; security tightened
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Allahabad: A day before Paush Purnima, the second auspicious bathing day during the Kumbh, all roads led virtually to the 'Sangam' the confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati as devotees from across the country thronged the city.

Security personnel from the UP police department and central para-military forces kept a tight vigil at Prayagraj railway station, civil lines bus station and other areas frequented by the visitors.

"Our main focus is to ensure absolutely a safe and secure Kumbh, and we will leave no stone unturned," Uttar Pradesh Additional DG (Law and Order) Anand Kumar said.

An estimated 20 lakh devotees are likely to take the bath Monday. Prior to Paush Purnima, devotees had taken the first dip in this year's Kumbh on Makar Sankranti.

Kumar said steps have been taken to ensure a peaceful and organised Kumbh Mela.

"This includes deployment of forces and use of technology. We will ensure that everyone coming to the Kumbh is taken care of. We are making efforts to ensure that Kumbh 2019 is the safest Kumbh ever," he said.

Paush Purnima also marks the beginning of Kalpwas, the period of austerity.

"Paush Purnima is a significant day for Hindus and falls during full moon in the month of Paush according to the Hindu calendar. On this day, devotees from different parts of the country assemble at Sangam to take a holy dip," said Swami Adhokshjanand Deo Tirth.

"Even Lord Krishna had said that he represents the month of Paush," he said.

After the Paush Purnima bath, there will be four more major bathing dates during the Kumbh. These are Mauni Amavasya (February 4), Basant Panchami (February 10), Maghi Purnima (February 19) and Mahashivratri (March 4).

The Uttar Pradesh police has said the security would be three-tier for the Kumbh Mela, the largest congregation in the world, spread over 3,200 hectares of land in the Sangam city.

"The whole region has been demarcated into nine zones and 20 sectors with the deployment of over 20,000 police personnel, 6,000 home guards, 40 police stations, 58 outposts, 40 fire stations, 80 companies of central force and 20 companies of PAC," Director General of Police OP Singh has said.

Anti-Terrorist Squad commandos, anti-sabotage commandos with snipers, bomb disposal units, sniffer dog squads and intelligence units have also been deployed, Singh said.

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