Hyderabad, Sep 21 (IANS) Over 30,000 policemen were deployed and the military asked to stand by as massive security arrangements have been made for Ganesh idols immersion processions here Wednesday.
A thick security blanket has thrown around the route of the mammoth procession, which passes through the communally-sensitive old city before culminating at Hussain Sagar Lake in the heart of the city.
Unprecedented security has been made in view of the communal riots that broke out in the city in March this year and the verdict of Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court in Babri Masjid title suit scheduled for Sep 24.
According to Hyderabad Police Commissioner A.K. Khan, military will be on stand-by to meet any contingency. 'If necessary, the services of anti-terror force Octopus and armed forces will be utilised,' he told reporters.
Four companies of paramilitary Rapid Action Force (RAF) will be deployed in addition to the police forces. While the entire 10,000- strong city police force will be deployed, another 15,000 to 20,000 constables from other parts of the state will also be drafted for security.
Over 40 officers of the rank of superintendent of police and above will be on duty.
Over one million people are expected to attend the annual procession, which starts from Balapur in old city. Nearly 13,000 big idols from Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Cyberabad and surrounding districts will be immersed in the Hussain Sagar.
Authorities have installed 50 heavy cranes for immersion of the idols.
Hundreds of idols were immersed during last two days.
Police have already imposed restrictions under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code banning assembly of four or more people barring those in the Ganesh processions. The orders will be in force till Sep 28.
Thirty bomb disposal squads will search vulnerable places along the 20-km long procession route. An equal number of anti-sabotage teams will use 30 sniffer dogs to identify suspicious objects.
Massive security will be in place at the historic Mecca Masjid and Charminar in the old city. In the past, communal clashes broke out during the procession in the sensitive areas in the old city.
The procession, organised by Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samiti since early 1980s, brings the city to a grinding halt. The main procession route and roads taken by nearly two dozen tributary processions will be closed for traffic.
Like in the past, the state government has declared a general holiday in the state capital and the neighbouring Ranga Reddy district fo Anantchaturdashi that marks the close of the 10-day Ganesh festival.