Manag­ing move­ment of women through ‘holy steps’ a tough task: Po­lice

The New Indian Express - - TAMIL NADU / SOUTH - AJAY KANTH

AN as­sess­ment made by the Ker­ala Po­lice points out that if the flow of women pil­grims in­creases, crowd man­age­ment through the 18 holy steps at san­nid­hanam in Sabari­mala will go hay­wire.

Ac­cord­ing to the as­sess­ment which was dis­cussed in de­tail at the high power com­mit­tee meet­ing, reg­u­lat­ing the flow of pil­grims through the 18 steps was the core fac­tor in crowd man­age­ment dur­ing the pil­grim sea­son.

For proper crowd con­trol, at least 75 pil­grims should pass through the holy steps per minute and the flow should be steady when the sanc­tum sanc­to­rum is

open to pre­vent long queues dur­ing the peak pil­grim­age days. Usu­ally, po­lice­men are de­ployed in dif­fer­ent shifts on ei­ther side of the holy steps to help the pil­grims as­cend the steep steps.

“If more women pil­grims ar­rive,

then the flow will be­come slow de­lay­ing the move­ment of the crowd,” a po­lice of­fi­cer told Ex­press. “Above all, it will not be a vi­able op­tion to de­ploy women po­lice per­son­nel on the side of the holy steps to phys­i­cally guide the women pil­grims to help them as­cend the steps. If male po­lice per­son­nel are de­ployed to guide women pil­grims, some women may raise ob­jec­tions to it. An­other fac­tor is women po­lice per­son­nel will not be able to ex­ert the same phys­i­cal ef­fort taken by the po­lice­men to reg­u­late the move­ment of pil­grims.”

Thiru­vanan­tha­pu­ram Range In­spec­tor Gen­eral Manoj Abra­ham said the de­part­ment was tak­ing stock of all pos­si­ble op­tions to en­sure a smooth pil­grim­age sea­son this time.

“We are also con­sid­er­ing to im­ple­ment a to­tally dig­i­tal-driven dar­shan sys­tem with time slots for pil­grims. Soon, we will be work­ing out a de­tailed crowd man­age­ment plan spe­cially to reg­u­late the flow of women pil­grims,” he said.

An­other wor­ry­ing fac­tor for the po­lice is the de­ploy­ment of a large num­ber of women po­lice per­son­nel at San­nid­hanam can only be done af­ter en­sur­ing proper fa­cil­i­ties for them which in­clude ac­com­mo­da­tion and mess.

“We will not be able to use women cops for the kind of tasks at san­nid­hanam which usu­ally re­quire high phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. So, we will not be able to re­duce the num­ber of po­lice­men also,” said an­other of­fi­cer. “Manag­ing women pil­grims at San­nid­hanam will not be easy ei­ther.”

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