The annual Lord Jagannath's rath yatra procession passed off peacefully on Wednesday, amidst tight security arrangements, where for the first time two Netra Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) were deployed.
In addition to the UAVs, 20 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras were installed at various places, while companies of the BSF (six companies), RAF (four companies), Central Reserve Police Force (two companies) and Central Industrial Security Force (two companies) were deployed in Ahmedabad to prevent untoward incidents, officials said.
Eight teams of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) were also part of the security arrangements.
The colourful procession, comprising 18 decorated elephants, 98 trucks mounted with tableaux depicting Indian culture and three aesthetically decked chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balram and their sister Subhadra, moved through communally sensitive areas of Kalupur, Dariyapur and Shahpur, which had witnessed communal violence in the past.
During the last decade, the event is being celebrated more as Gujarat 'Lokotsav'.
The procession entourage, reaching amidst chants of 'Jai Ranchhod Makhan Chor', was greeted by local leaders of the minority community in sensitive areas it passed through, amidst elaborate security arrangements.
Members of the minority community near Limdichowk in Dariapur area of the city welcomed the entourage with "passion and fervour". The Dariapur Muslim Traders' Association, Peace Committee members and various local organisations made special arrangements for people to watch the entourage.
Earlier in the day, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi performed the 'Pahind Vidhi' (symbolic cleaning of the path for chariot of Lord Jagannath) at the 400-year-old Lord Jagannath temple from where chariots of the Lord Jagannath, Lord Balram and their sister Subhadra commenced their sojourn.