New dress code for security personnel at Kashi Vishwanath Temple; SP moves EC

Varanasi CP’s decision a breach of the model code of conduct, says party

Kashi Vishwanath temple complex Kashi Vishwanath temple complex

The Samajwadi Party has filed a complaint to the Election Commission against the change of dress code of the security personnel posted on the premises of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi.

On Wednesday morning, when devotees reached the temple, they were surprised to notice that there were no police personnel around. These security men usually keep the crowds in order, sometimes jostling with them to maintain queues, especially when there are VIP darshans.

The devotees then figured out that the throng of bhagwa (saffron) clad men and women were actually part of the temple’s security. While the men were dressed in dhoti, kurta, patka (stole), complete with rudraksh beads around the neck, women personnel were dressed in orange salwar, kameez and dupatta.

This change in dress code followed an order by the Varanasi Commissioner of Police (CP), Mohit Agarwal who wanted a friendlier image of the police.

Now the Samajwadi Party has questioned the powers of the CP to make such changes in the mandated dress code of security forces. ‘Dharmik policing’ was the name Agarwal had given to this move, insisting that it would put devotees at greater ease during the darshan.

“Neither the CP nor the Mandir Trust has the right to change the normal dress of the security staff. The decision to change the dress in the midst of the elections is a breach of the model code of conduct. We have complained to the Election Commission,” said SP spokesperson Manoj Rai Dhoopchandi.

A former mahant of the temple, Rajendra Tiwari, also expressed his dissatisfaction. “This is against dharma and against the norms of security. It is only propaganda for the Lok Sabha elections. The khakhi uniform of the police has its own dignity. These security personnel are not the employees of a private company who can dress any which way’, he said.

Allegations are also being made that the CP is working like a BJP stooge in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency.

This is not the first time that such a change of uniform has been put in place. A similar experiment was tried in 2018 but abandoned after a while.

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