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Ayodhya fortified, around 4,000 paramilitary personnel sent to UP ahead of SC verdict


NEW DELHI: The Centre has rushed 40 companies (around 4,000 personnel) of paramilitary forces to Uttar Pradesh to assist the state government in maintaining law and order ahead of the Supreme Court’s verdict on the sensitive Ayodhya case, which is expected anytime before Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi’s retirement on November 17.  

A total of 40 companies, which include 16 companies of RAF and six companies each of CISF, ITBP, SSB, and BSF, will be deployed in UP till November 18.

The Home Ministry has also issued an advisory to all states asking them to remain alert ahead of the verdict on the Ramjanambhumi-Babri Masjid title dispute case.

States have been directed to pay special attention to sensitive areas and ensure security, home ministry officials said, adding that there will be close coordination between top security departments of the Centre and states.

The central forces are scheduled to reach Ayodhya on November 11, a day ahead of Kartik Purnima. One million devotees are expected to participate in a religious event.

The paramilitary forces will be deployed in 12 most sensitive districts and cities of Uttar Pradesh. Apart from Varanasi and Ayodhya, paramilitary forces will be deployed in Kanpur, Aligarh, Lucknow, Azamgarh, etc to maintain law and order.

The Railway Protection Force also issued an advisory to all its zones on Thursday, advising them to keep a tab on all religious structures near railway stations as they may become ‘flashpoints’ in case tempers run high.

Rescinding its earlier order allowing railway stations to keep lighting at 30% to save energy, the RPF has asked all zones to keep lighting at 100% at all times.

The advisory also said that leaves of all its personnel had been canceled and they will be engaged in escorting trains.

The advisory, which covers aspects like security at platforms, railway stations, yards, parking space, bridges and tunnels besides production units and workshops, has earmarked all potential hotspots which could either be a site for any violence or could be used to hide explosives, the sources said.

RPF personnel will escort all trains and they will be armed with modern gadgets and intensive checks will be done including sniffer dogs, they said, adding all sensitive points on tracks, bridges and tunnels will be patrolled.

The advisory has identified 78 major stations in Mumbai, Delhi, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh where the presence of RPF personnel has been increased. Overruling its earlier order of keeping station lighting to 30% to save energy, the RPF instructed to keep lighting at 100% at all times.

In Uttar Pradesh, for the first time in three decades, the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas has stopped chiseling stones at the Nyas Karyashala (workshop). “Work stopped four days ago after a decision was taken to that effect to maintain peace and communal harmony ahead of the final verdict,” said Sharad Sharma, regional spokesman of VHP. 

The Nyas is the supreme body of saints which has been spearheading the Ram Mandir movement. However, all efforts to maintain peace may go haywire if the use of social is not checked, said police. Some notorious elements are already posting hate messages on social networking sites through fake accounts.

Taking note of such posts, SSP (Meerut) Ajay Kumar Sahni has ordered an inquiry directing the IT cell to expose the social media offenders. Police also convened meetings of Muslim clerics and members of other groups to maintain peace.

‘Take SC verdict in good faith’

The SC verdict should be imbibed in good faith with maturity and responsibility by all sections of society, Jamia Millia Islamia’s teachers’ association said.

The JTA urged people to refrain from the propaganda of any insulting or illicit pride and fake news or speeches in actual or virtual mode on social media.

“Let all religions join hands and give violence no space, and let the love, mutual respect and peace prevail," they said.