UP: Varanasi Police In Saffron Attire Inside Kashi Vishwanath Temple Sparks Controversy

UP: Varanasi Police In Saffron Attire Inside Kashi Vishwanath Temple Sparks Controversy

According to the directive issued by the police authorities, male officers will wear red or saffron dhotis, and kurta and carry an angvastram over their shoulders and tilak on their foreheads to resemble priests, while female officers will don salwar-kurtas in saffron and red.

BISWAJEET BANERJEEUpdated: Thursday, April 11, 2024, 06:32 PM IST
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UP: Varanasi Police In Saffron Attire Inside Kashi Vishwanath Temple Sparks Controversy |

UP: Varanasi's Commissioner of Police has sparked controversy by deploying officers inside the esteemed Kashi Vishwanath Temple adorned in saffron attire instead of their usual khaki uniforms. This move has garnered mixed reactions, eliciting both criticism and praise from various quarters.

The directive, issued on Tuesday, led to a visual shift on Wednesday as a handful of officers were seen donning kurta-dhotis within the temple premises, raising eyebrows and igniting debate among devotees and observers alike.

While some welcomed the move, viewing it as a gesture to enhance the devotee experience, others criticized it, alleging political undertones and citing concerns about religious sentiment. The sight of policemen clad in saffron amidst devotees prompted varied reactions, with some suggesting a link to election campaigning.

Details On Attire & Training Of Officers

According to the directive issued by the police authorities, male officers will wear red or saffron dhotis, and kurta and carry an angvastram over their shoulders and tilak on their foreheads to resemble priests, while female officers will don salwar-kurtas in saffron and red.

Before deployment, these officers will undergo a three-day training program focusing on enhancing their communication skills with devotees, aimed at fostering a more amicable interaction.

Commissioner of Police Mohit Agrawal emphasized the importance of addressing concerns regarding crowd management, particularly during peak times for darshan (prayer offerings), where long queues often lead to frustration among devotees.

Agrawal highlighted the implementation of a "no touch" policy for crowd control, emphasizing the use of ropes instead of physical intervention to guide devotees. The move seeks to promote a friendlier police image and ensure a smoother flow of visitors within the temple premises.

“The initiative aims to improve the overall visitor experience and mitigate negative perceptions associated with police presence,” he said.

However, not everyone is supportive of the decision. Former SP minister Manoj Rai criticized the move, labeling it as disrespectful to religious sentiments and urging the intervention of the Election Commission to prevent such experiments during election periods.

Rai emphasized that saffron attire holds significance as the identity of saints and sages, cautioning against its politicization.

Some Cops Seen In Saffron, Others In Khaki On Day 1

On the first day after directive, a few policemen were seen attired in saffron manning the sanctum sanctorum of the Temple while a few others were there in a khaki dress. This is also not clear whether the policemen in saffron had undertaken the proposed training.

The controversy surrounding the deployment of police in saffron attire underscores the delicate balance between religious symbolism, public perception, and law enforcement duties, with stakeholders urging a reconsideration of the decision amid ongoing discussions.

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