Prayagraj: With two weeks to go for the Kumbh Mela, the Uttar Pradesh government is taking several steps to turn the religious congregation into a huge success. The latest thing which has caught the eye is a French man dressed as a monk.

A closer look at the French man reveals the ascetic is none other Bhagwan Giri, who has been living in India for the past 30 years. Giri, whose real name is Daniel is a converted Hindu and is called Bhagwan Giri by his fellows. A follower of Devgiri Baba Maharaj, Giri wears saffron clothes and turmeric paste on his forehead. He eats with his fellows, whom he calls “gurubhai”, and lives the monk-like life.

“His daily routine involves practising yoga, dhyana and bhajan,” said Laxman Giri, his fellow at Anand Akhara. For the uninitiated, the French Baba will be attending the Kumbh Mela that will continue till March.

Giri said, “I love Sanatan dharma. It is very peaceful. We believe in one God. There is only one spirit that has many names.” “Prem hai to sab aanand hai (If there is love, there is joy),” he added.

On Saturday, arrangements were made to review the security by conducting a joint mock drill by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). The teams had finalised the details of the drill the day before, on Friday.

The team gathered information about the plans and instructed them to make the necessary improvements. Different departments were given instructions accordingly. For instance, the Health Department was told that people should be informed about the contact numbers of ambulance drivers and pamphlets should be distributed everywhere.

The fire department officials were asked to verify the names and mobile numbers of the drivers of fire brigade trucks. The police department was told that instead of mobile phones, wireless sets should be used.

Mock drills were held jointly by the teams of CRPF, NDMA and SSB in order to test the emergency services. The Mock drill started from 10 AM and top officers of the departments along with NDMA were also present.