In further boost to security ahead of the Ayodhya verdict, the Centre has deployed paramilitary forces and IL-76 and AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force at eight locations to allow swift airlifting of additional security personnel to any of the 32 potential communal hotspots across the country if the need arises.
All eight centres, including four in Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Bagdogra and Delhi, are situated near air force stations.
Though the security establishment does not fear any major threat of communal violence, there is some concern regarding the verdict’s close proximity to Commonwealth Games that begin on October 3.
“Left to ourselves, we would have preferred to deal with the fall out of the judgment according to the original schedule of last week… We would have been left with some breathing space,” a senior police officer said. Security sources said they could not take any chances and the emphasis would be to come down heavily on mischief mongers at the first sight of trouble.
The home ministry has drawn up a list of 32 communally sensitive districts on the basis of previous instances of disturbances. Four of them are in Uttar Pradesh.
Officials closely associated with the security assessments indicated that UP was the least of their worries.
The UP government had activated peace committees at local levels across the state. Chief Minister Mayawati also already sent a stern message down the line in the state police that officers who failed to prevent trouble would be penalised.
For other parts of the country, the home ministry had completed the deployment of paramilitary personnel at 16 locations.