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Maha Kumbh Militant Threat

on 2001/1/11 8:48:02 ( 1620 reads )


ALLAHABAD, INDIA, January 11, 2001: Over 2,500,000 devotees and reports of a possible militant strike kept the police and mela authorities on their toes on the first day of the Maha Kumbh. The paush purnima snan (bath at full moon) at the Sangam attracted a record gathering of devotees, giving the police cause to worry over the scope of arrangements to be made for the two biggest bathing days yet to come. Tuesday's crowds were almost double the official estimates before the Mela began. Intelligence sources said they had received information about a possible subversive strike during the Kumbh. The Uttar Pradesh police officially denied any new threat, but stepped up their security to face any eventuality. A report from Lucknow said Pakistan-based militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, responsible for a recent Army camp strike, had planned similar attacks at the Maha Kumbh. Allahabad has increased the number of police covering the event from 15,000 to 20,000 in the last two days. The force will be backed by 150 river patrol officers, 20 specially trained commandos and 10 Army teams specializing in anti-mine operations. Bomb disposal squads are also stationed at the mela complex.

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