The Telegraph
Saturday , October 27 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999

Deoghar ashram takes guard

Deoghar, Oct. 26: Having learnt a lesson from the September 24 stampede in which nine devotees were killed, Satsang Ashram opened its doors to police for the first time to prevent any untoward incident during a two-day annual event that started today.

The Deoghar district administration is also on its toes and has put elaborate arrangements in place.

Around 50,000 devotees from across the country have congregated here to attend the Sarva Bharatiya Satsang Ritwik Sammelan as part of the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of ashram founder Sri Sri Thakur Anukul Chandra. This is the first public event that the ashram is hosting after the stampede.

“Unlike previous occasions, the ashram management has been co-operating with the district administration and allowed us to deploy security personnel even inside the premises to tackle the huge rush,” Deoghar SDO (civil) Uma Shankar Singh told The Telegraph.

Around 650 personnel, including 500 lathi-wielding jawans, 100 armed and 50 women personnel, have been deployed under the supervision of magistrates at strategic locations inside and outside the ashram.

According to Singh, earlier, the ashram management had never cared to take requisite no-objection certificates from the fire and electricity departments for major functions. But this time, the authorities sought all clearances from departments concerned.

This apart, over a dozen CCTV cameras have been put up at different locations. Again, for the first time, barricades have been set up outside the main gate and at the venue for mass prayers.

Most importantly, the main gate of the ashram was kept open throughout the day to ensure easy access for devotees. Notably, the stampede occurred on September 24 — the day the 125th birth anniversary of Sri Sri Thakur Anukul Chandra was being observed — mainly because the main gate had been kept shut and when it finally opened around 5am, nearly a lakh devotees gathered outside rushed in.