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Police personnel posted at Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath temple will dress as priests, questions raised

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Police personnel posted at Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi were asked to wear garva dhoti-kurta and female personnel were asked to wear saffron shalwar-kurta. Officials say policemen dressed as priests will be able to handle the crowd better. However, the move is being criticized citing the dignity of police uniforms.

(Image credit: X/@theupindex)

New Delhi: Police personnel posted at the Kashi Vishwanath Dham complex in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh will now wear dhoti-kurtas.

According to a Deccan Herald report, the policemen will wear ‘Girva’ dress, ‘Rodraksha beads’ and wear ‘Trapand’ (three lines made of sandalwood or ash on the forehead) like priests, and will visit a garbha the famous Kashi. Vishwanath temple will be in Varanasi. Female police officers will wear shalwar kurta.

Temple officials said the new dress code would apply only to police personnel posted at the garbha griha. An official of Varanasi said, ‘This is a new experiment which has been started for the convenience of the devotees and to provide a friendly atmosphere in the temple.’

Officials said there were complaints from devotees that the police personnel posted at the temple did not treat them well and that they often used force to control the crowd.

He said, ‘It is easy to accept priests by rituals, but sometimes they don’t listen to policemen. Policemen dressed as priests will be able to control the crowd in a better and friendlier way.’

They say that these ‘priestly police’ will welcome the devotees with the slogan ‘Har Har Mahadev’ and also tell them about other important religious places in Varanasi.

It has been informed that these police personnel will receive special training for three days as their duty will not be like outside the temple or other places.

Officials said the new experiment at the temple began on Wednesday.

According to an NDTV report, an experiment in this regard was also conducted in 2018.

Apart from the new uniforms, a ‘no touching’ policy will be implemented to control overcrowding. This means that devotees will not physically move or move around or disrupt queues while making room for VIP movement. Instead they would use ropes to guide the devotees without any physical contact.

The crowd in 2018 was smaller than the previous two years following the renovation of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham, but there were complaints of police forcefully removing the devotees from the garbha griha or its entrance, according to The Times of India . This has led to the resumption of the ‘Police in Dhoti’ experiment, which was first started by Bhardwaj of SSPR but ended after some time.

Samajwadi Party raised the question

As reported by Amar Ajala, Samajwadi Party state spokesperson Manoj Roy Dhup Chandy has questioned the new system of posting police personnel at the Vishwanath temple. He said ‘we will file a complaint at the Electoral Commission.’

He said, ‘The model code of conduct is in force and all this is being done for electoral gain. Arbitrary use of police is not appropriate. The dignity of the police in the public place is in their uniform.

At the same time, SP leader, Akhilesh Yadav, opposes this, has written on X according to which ‘police manual’ is it correct for policemen to wear priestly attire?

He said, ‘Those who give such orders should be stopped. If someone takes advantage of this tomorrow and robs innocent people, how will the Uttar Pradesh government and administration react?’

The former mahant of the temple, Rajendra Tiwari, has also expressed his displeasure.

He said, ‘It is against the principles of religion and security. This is just a campaign for the Lok Sabha elections. Khaki police uniform has its own dignity. These security personnel are not employees of a private company who can wear any type of clothing.’

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