A senior police officer in Uttar Pradesh's Shamli district is seen massaging the feet of a Kanwar Yatra pilgrim in a video which has gone viral on social media.
The city administration has made several arrangements, including special health centers, to welcome the pilgrims. In one of these clinics, Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Ajay Kumar provided the special service to a pilgrim.
"The video is from a health camp. I had been called to inaugurate the camp. I did this as a symbolic service to the pilgrims," the officer was quoted by news agency ANI.
"Being a cop, it's our duty to ensure that law and order is good and people staying or passing through here are served well. I also wanted to give a message to my colleagues that only providing security is not our duty, we also need to serve our people," he added.
Senior administrative officers in many cities of western Uttar Pradesh have taken part in welcoming the pilgrims. On Friday, officials in Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar showered flowers on pilgrims from helicopters. Similar scenes had been seen last year when top police officers in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut showered rose petals from a chopper to greet the pilgrims.
Extensive security measures have been taken by the government and the police for the annual pilgrimage. The Delhi-Haridwar national highway has been closed till July 30. Schools and colleges in western Uttar Pradesh have also been closed.
The Kanwar Yatra is an annual pilgrimage of Lord Shiva's devotees. The Kanwariyas (pilgrims) visit Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar to fetch holy waters from the Ganga river.
Last year, videos in circulation on social media had shown the pilgrims in acts of hooliganism, unchecked by the police.