Rath Yatra: No entry for Akhada stuntmen without photo ID card
Akhada wrestlers, who have become a regular feature of the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad, will be provided photo identity cards for this year's celebrations in order to regulate unidentified groups and control overcrowding along the Yatra route.
The Ahmedabad Crime Branch has notified that only those who have valid ID cards would be allowed to participate in the Yatra to be held on June 21.
Several instances of eve-teasing allegedly by some wrestlers and unknown men joining these Akhada groups and creating a ruckus during the Yatra have been reported in the past.
"We want Akhada groups to get ID cards for their stuntmen carrying their name, age, group and other credentials. This would leave no scope for any miscreant or an anti-social element to get into the groups midway to create nuisance. Even their own group members cannot exchange cards or swap roles," said a senior Crime Branch officer.
According to the Ahmedabad police, at least 30 Akhada groups, each with a strength of more than 50 wrestlers, participate every year. Although the groups are expected to be at the Yatra, the individual participation of the wrestlers will be limited. This could significantly reduce the number of Akhada stuntmen in this year's festivities by 20% to 30%, according to sources in the Detection of Crime Brach (DCB).
The DCB has asked the Akhada groups to limit and maintain uniformity in the number of wrestlers so that officials could maintain a register of the participants and reduced chaos.
Akhada groups usually perform their stunts alongside the procession, using sticks and daggers.
The Ahmedabad police have asked the groups not to perform stunts using dangerous props and have prohibited the use of fire and swords in the procession.
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