Ahead of Karthigai Deepam festival, sadhus in Girivalam path come under surveillance


The fingerprints of sadhus being taken in Tiruvannamalai.

The fingerprints of sadhus being taken in Tiruvannamalai.

Sadhus and saints on the 14-km-long Girivalam path in Tiruvannamalai have come under surveillance of the district police as part of security measures for Karthigai Deepam festival and Pournami days.

Based on the preliminary data of these sadhus, who have been in the town for many years, the police have started to re-check their personal details.

The Superintendent of Police (SP), Tiruvannamalai, K. Karthikeyan, has been monitoring the exercise. The database on them will help the police to prevent crime and other illegal activities in the town. “Re-check of the existing data will help us get total number of such persons in the town, any newcomers, background of such persons and any offence they committed earlier,” said K. Sunderarajan, Deputy SP (Fingerprints), Tiruvannamalai.

As part of the initiative, fingerprints and photographs of sadhus were taken. The fingerprints will be sent to National Automated Fingerprints Identification System (NAFIS), which is maintained by New Delhi-based Central Fingerprint Bureau (CFPB) to ascertain if any sadhus have criminal records. The sadhus were given a sort of identity slip with the seal of the district police.

At present, the town has around 300 sadhus, mainly between Chengam Road and Abayapuram, a distance of around 10 km, on the Girivalam path. Most of them are from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. They stay in free shelters provided by NGOs and by the temple. During the pandemic, most of them were deprived of proper accommodation and food. As there were no visitors during Covid-19, they stayed on the pavement along the Girivalam path. As normalcy returned, the flow of devotees increased in the town.
At present, the district administration and the police run a rehabilitation centre for sadhus in the town. Free night shelters are also run for sadhus, who have been issued identity cards by the district administration earlier.


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