The 136th Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra, which is considered as the second most significant after Puri Rath Yatra, began amid tight security in Ahmedabad. Gujarat CM Narendra Modi did the ‘chhera panhara” and pulled the chariot to flag off the festival.
The chariot will pass through various parts of Ahmedabad and cover a distance of 14 km. It will also travel through some sensitive areas such as Kalupur, Prem Darwaja, Delhi Chakla, Dariyapur and Shahpur – which are considered as the minority stronghold.
In the wake of Bodhgaya blasts and Modi’s rising popularity, two Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) called the Netra or “eye” hovered around while the Gujarat CM performed the rituals. This is the 12th time Modi got a chance to perform the traditional rituals.
In addition to the UAVs, 20 CCTV cameras, 14 paramilitary companies, including BSF (6), RAF (4), CRPF (2) and CISF (2) have been deployes across Ahmedabad to prevent any untoward incidents. Eight Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) teams have also been deployed.