"You are the brand ambassadors of Jaipur for the next five days," is the direct message of Jaipur Police Commissioner Sanjay Agarwal to the hundreds of police personnel entrusted with ensuring the security of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival that kicks-off at the Diggi Palace here on Thursday morning.
The annual gathering of writers and book lovers witnesses a footfall that ranges in hundreds of thousands over the five days and has been a centre of protests at several occasions in the past. This time around, with the Shree Rajput Karni Sena going on a rampage in many parts of the country against Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Padmaavat", the authorities are taking additional precautions to prevent any untowardly incident. Notably, Mahipal Singh Makrana, the president of the fringe group, has warned it will protest against the presence of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Prashoon Joshi at the festival.
"This is the twelfth edition of the festival and you are aware that it represents Jaipur. The festival is associated with the feelings of our people and attracts thousands of tourists to Rajasthan. It is a festival of our home and we must work accordingly," Agarwal told the police personnel in a briefing at the Diggi Palace on Wednesday.
He elaborated that every single police personnel represents the Jaipur police and they must be at their best discipline throughout the festival. "Along with ensuring the security, we also must see that the people visiting here have a good experience. So you need to be polite to visitors," he said. The commissioner said that the Jaipur police will provide three-layered security to the festival. There will be police personnel at the entrance, as also at the surrounding high-rise buildings, inside the venue in uniforms as well as civvies and dozens of CCTV cameras will monitor all the venues throughout the five days.
"Be polite but firm. If there's any problem, inform your seniors. There's no challenge that Jaipur police cannot overcome. We are prepared for everything," he said, before explaining that there will be bomb and dog squads to assist them but, in his own words, "it is the men in uniform who first sense any trouble".
"In case there's any problem, contain it there so that it does not disturb the entire festival," he said.
Responding to the threat posed by Shree Rajput Karni Sena, the Commissioner said: "Jaipur is a tourist destination and several festivals happen in the city. I am sure JLF will go well. We have a three-layer security and the organisers have full support of the state government and police headquarter".