Around 8 million observers expected at Gadhimai Mela this year

BARA: The famed Gadhimai Mela, celebrated every five years in Mahagadhimai Municipality-1, Bara, has received over 900,000 observers this year so far.

According to the Mela (fair) committee, around eight million devotees from more than 18 countries, including Nepal and India, are expected to visit the fair this year.

In order to manage the high number of devotees and visitors, to provide free food, drinking water, sanitation, and health services, hundreds of social organisations and thousands of volunteers have been mobilised. Nepal Red Cross Society, Nepal Scouts, Manav Sewa Samaj are few of such organisations.

Likewise, Mahagadhimai Municipality, Kalaiya Sub-Metropolitan City, Pheta Rural Municipality, Prasauni Rural Municipality, Devtaal Rural Municipality, Aadarsha Kotwal Rural Municipality, Baragadhi Rural Municipality, including other local levels have also remained active in the festival.

Despite such efforts, there have been a large number of people who fake injuries to retrieve money from others amidst the crowd and others who defecate in the area during dusk, making it difficult for the visitors to use the street.

In addition to such issues, stealing activities have also become prominent.

Police Spokesperson and Chief of Mela Security, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Ranjit Singh Rathore, informed that 50 people involved in pick-pocketing, thieving, looting activities, have already been arrested while investigation into such affairs is still ongoing.

Around 1,000 personnel from Nepal Police and Traffic Police, and 300 personnel from the Armed Police Force (APF) have been deployed at the site for security.

Tuesday and Wednesday have been announced as the main days for sacrificial rituals in the festival. Opposing the act of cruelty against animals and raising their voices for animal rights, activists are also seen present at the event. They have been requesting the use of coconuts and other plant-based offerings instead of animals.

DSP Rathore added, additional security using drones have been set for tomorrow and the day after. 80 CCTV cameras have been installed in the area.