NEW DELHI :
Massive security preparations are underway across Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh to pre-empt any outbreak of violence following the Supreme Court’s verdict in the emotive Ayodhya land dispute case that is expected to be delivered before Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi demits office on 17 November.
The Union home ministry on Thursday issued an advisory asking all states to remain alert and be prepared to tackle any untoward situation that may arise.
A string of veteran leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been named in court cases in connection with the 6 December 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid, which led to Hindu-Muslim rioting across the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last month led the government in appealing for calm and asking people to respect the Supreme Court’s verdict.
State police personnel have fanned out across Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, while the police in Madhya Pradesh have been put on alert. The Union home ministry has asked for peace and calm to be maintained across these states.
“All precautions are being taken. We are going to ensure timely response of law and order at any cost. All field officers have also been sensitized and we are in regular touch with all communities on the ground to ensure that no untoward episode occurs," Uttar Pradesh director general of police O.P. Singh said.
The Centre has been careful to prevent any outbreak of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh, which is no stranger to communal incidents, including the 2013 violence against Muslims in Muzaffarnagar. About 4,000 central paramilitary troops have been deployed in the state, while state police personnel have fortified sensitive areas such as Gorakhpur, Kanpur and Faizabad. Prohibitory orders are in force in communally sensitive areas in the state.
Rapid Action Force personnel have been deployed in the state to prevent any outbreak of violence, while state police have been holding meetings in villages between Hindus and Muslims, and also carrying out flag marches.
“Community policing has also begun with a sub-inspector assisting each group across 204 identified mohallas. So far 200 meetings have been held with members of the community asking them to refrain from any rumour-mongering or violence," a senior Uttar Pradesh Police official said on condition of anonymity.
Social media platforms were being carefully monitored across the state, while central paramilitary forces were engaged in area-domination exercises, said the official.
“The Indian Institute of Technology (Kanpur) is also assisting in aerial surveillance. We will monitor the ground situation using high-definition cameras, which will be linked to a live video feed across control rooms," the official said.
In neighbouring Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, state police authorities have recalled officials who were on leave and deployed personnel in all sensitive regions. Central forces will be called in if the need arises.
Fourteen appeals have been filed before the top court against the 2010 Allahabad high court judgement, which said the disputed 22.7 acres should be divided equally among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, a key litigant in the Ayodhya dispute since 1961, on Wednesday said it will accept the judgement of the Supreme Court made on the basis of facts and evidence.
Japnam K. Bindra contributed to this story.