Threat to Ambubachi Mela: Multi-Layer Security Arranged

Threat to Ambubachi Mela: Multi-Layer Security Arranged

A multi-layer security ring has been thrown in and around the Kamakhya temple here after an intelligence input about militant groups operational in Assam and planning to sabotage the ongoing Ambubachi Mela was received, Guwahati police said today.

The Mela started yesterday and would continue till June 26.

"We have received inputs that groups operational in Assam might carry out some sabotage in the Ambubachi Mela. We have created a multi-layered security system in Kamakhya temple and entire Guwahati city and are keeping strict vigil at all entry and exit points of the city," Guwahati Police Commissioner Mukesh Agrawal told a press conference here.

There is a strong presence of Assam Police, central forces, commando units, policemen in plainsclothes and river police around Nilachal Hill where Kamakhya temple is located, he said.

"We have full domination of the Nilachal hill. We are taking help of technologies. Our security strategy is reviewed, updated and adjusted continuously," he said.

The city police on Saturday arrested an ULFA-I militant, whose interrogation led to the recovery of an IED near the temple. Seven Achik National Liberation Army (ANLA) militants and linkmen were booked yesterday.

Kamrup Metropolitan Deputy Commissioner M Angamuthu said at least 10 lakh pilgrims from across the country, besides a considerable number of them from abroad, are expected to visit Kamakhya temple.

"Till yesterday, five lakh visitors had come. Today, we are expecting around 1.5 lakh people. By the end of the month, I am sure the number will cross 10 lakh. This will be the largest and record gathering on Ambubachi Mela," he said.

During the last Mela, around 8 lakh people, including 250 foreigners had visited the temple.

As per the directive of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, the district administration and Assam Tourism will upload the special features, gatherings and other highlights of the mela in social networking sites, Angamuthu said.

Ambubachi Mela is held annually in the month of 'Ahaar' (also Ashar) at Kamakhya Devi Temple and it is believed that the goddess goes through her menstrual cycle during the three days. The temple remains closed during the time. Devotees, however, keep flocking for several more days.

The gates of the temple were closed during wee hours yesterday and will reopen in the afternoon on June 26, officials in the temple administration said.

Asked if ANLA cadres were in Guwahati to carry out any subversive activity, Agrawal said, "We are still working on that. Our teams are in touch with Maghalaya Police".

"We all know that ANLA is active in South Garo hills. Usually, militants pass through the Garo hills area, so they help each other. Moreover, these are the times of outsourcing. So they (ANLA) might have some intentions," he said.

Asked specifically whether ULFA(I) had asked ANLA, whose operational area is in close proximity to Guwahati, to sabotage Ambubachi Mela, the police commissioner said the two outfits have been helping each other.

"Initial investigation says that they were here for an arms deal. One team came from Goalpara and another from Dimapur in Nagaland," he added.

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