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This Ganeshotsav, over 200 BSF jawans will keep a vigil over Mumbai

For the first time, around 250 Border Security Force personnel from Gujarat have been posted at strategic locations across the city during the Ganpati festival. Lalbaugcha Raja alone gets 125 men as safety cover. However, Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police (Law and Order) Dhananjay Kamlakar confirms there’s no terror alert

For the first time, around 250 Border Security Force personnel from Gujarat have been posted at strategic locations across the city to ensure safety and security during the Ganpati festival. Out of this, 125 have been spread across Mumbai city while the remaining are stationed at various locations, including rooftops, at Lalbaug to monitor the activities of devotees, who are thronging streets to catch a glimpse of the elephant-headed god, Lalbaugcha Raja. According to a BSF personnel, who didn’t wish to be named, though BSF jawans were deployed last year too, this is the first time so many personnel have been called in.

BSF jawans
On guard: Although BSF personnel were deployed in Mumbai last year as well, it’s the first time that such a large number of men has been posted.  Pic/Dutta kumbhar

On Saturday, when sunday mid-day visited the area near Lalbaugcha Raja mandal, BSF jawans were present in the vicinity. BSF Company Commandant Tarun Pratap said, “Two companies of BSF from Gandhidham (Gujarat) have come to Mumbai especially to provide additional security during Ganpati bandobast. One BSF company (batch), comprising 100-130 personnel, has been posted at strategic locations in and around the Lalbaugcha Raja pandal and the surrounding area. We are closely keeping a tab on the activities of the people coming for darshan and we are fully prepared to tackle any emergency situation. We also have a Quick Response Team that will tackle any situation.”

BSF jawans
While 125 personnel have been spread across Mumbai city, the remaining are stationed at various locations, including rooftops, at Lalbaug to monitor the activities of devotees, who are thronging streets to catch a glimpse of Lalbaugcha Raja. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

Pratap added that they are helping other forces such as Rapid Action Force and private security guards in crowd management. A BSF doctor, who can treat people in case of any emergency, will be present. Another personnel from the BSF company said, on condition of anonymity, “Two other companies comprising 200-250 jawans have been deployed in the state.”

Official speak
Deputy Commissioner of Mumbai Police Ashok Dudhe, who is in charge of the security arrangements at Lalbaugcha Raja, said, “I cannot share the exact number of people who have been deployed at various locations in and around Lalbaugcha Raja as it’s highly confidential. Special combat vehicles and sniffer dogs are also doing the rounds of the area.”

When questioned why BSF jawans have been called, he said, “Each year, we have been seeking the assistance of Rapid Action Force (RAF) and State Reserve Police Force (SRPF). Last year too, we had sought the help of BSF as they are trained to tackle emergency situations.”

Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police (Law and Order) Dhananjay Kamlakar confirmed, “There’s no specific reason for bringing BSF personnel to the city. It’s a routine procedure. We deploy them at locations wherever we feel it’s necessary.”

Mumbai police to reward citizens
This Ganeshotsav, the Mumbai police has launched a new initiative, in collaboration with a private bank, to check whether citizens maintain a vigil over their surroundings. As part of this move, cops will place suspicious items at the entry and exit points of Ganpati pandals across the city. Whoever spots the objects and calls the police, will be rewarded with a gold coin.

Apart from this, officials have also made a 100-second video, which features people flitting in and out of a Ganesh pandal and keeping suspicious items in the area in the process. At the end, citizens will have to answer how many suspicious objects or activities did they notice. They will get three options.

Once they SMS the right answer to a number that is provided in the video, there will be a lucky draw and the winner will also get a gold coin. The video will be circulated on Whatsapp. This initiative is part of the Mumbai police’s on-going Mumbai Ke Liye 1 Minute drive. Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police (Law and Order) Dhananjay Kamlakar said, “This initiative has been taken up to ensure that citizens become more alert and aware of their surroundings.”

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