Allahabad: Top Uttar Pradesh cops were today caught flouting an Allahabad High Court order, which forbids VIPs from visiting the Maha Kumbh in their official vehicles.
Deputy Inspector General of Lucknow, Navneet Sikera, drove with his wife right up to the banks of Sangam - the holy confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna, and mythical Saraswati rivers - after which he used a river police boat to head for a holy dip.
When confronted, he apologised, and said he was unaware of the High Court order. He made his way back on foot.
Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF), Subhash Joshi, a UP cadre officer, also came to the mela on Friday with his family, security entourage in tow. They took a dip at the VIP ghaat and then toured the akharas in his official car.
Managing the lakhs of pilgrims visiting the Kumbh is a logistical challenge for authorities and VIPs are not helping matters by showing up with their entourages.
Lakhs of devotees are present at the Kumbh today on the occasion of Basant Panchami, an auspicious day to take a holy dip. Earlier this morning, a fire broke out at the Nirmal Akhara at the venue, killing one person, and gutting around 30 make-shift tents. Two people were injured.
Azam Khan, the minister in-charge of the Maha Kumbh has shot off a letter today to the Prime Minister's Office, or PMO, asking it to appeal to VIPs to stay away from the Kumbh on the day of the main snaan on Mahashivratri.