Security has been beefed up in Barsana and Nandgaon villages where couples will play traditional ‘Lathamar Holi’ for two days, beginning Monday, to thwart hooliganism.

At the same time, the district authorities have asked the police to deal “politely” with pilgrims coming to attend the festival.

Celebrated in the villages a few days before Holi, ‘Lathamar’ means ‘playing with sticks’.

“In the festival, men folk try to smear colour on new clothes worn by women who traditionally protect themselves with lathis,” priest at the Ladli temple in Barsana Rasbihari Goswami said.

Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Ajai Kumar Awasthi said security has been beefed up and arrangements have been made in Barsana and Nandgaon villages for the festival.

“Police personnel in plain clothes have been posted at strategic points to catch people indulging in hooliganism while, at the same time, have been instructed to deal politely with the pilgrims,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mohit Gupta said.

The Lathamar Mela area in Barsana has been divided into three zones with nine sectors each for efficient crowd management, Awasthi said.

ADMs and additional superintendent of police have been made in-charge of the zones. The sectors will be managed by SDMs and circle officers, the ADM said, adding the area has been declared a no vehicle zone.

The fair will have nine medical camps and ambulances have been deployed to attend to emergencies, he said.

AIR will be airing a special programme on the occasion from 5 PM.

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