The Khargone district administration has stepped up security arrangements in the city two days ahead of Vijaya Dashami and Muharram to avoid communal clashes that occurred on Dussehara last year.
More than 300 people were made accused after about 14 houses and over 25 vehicles were set ablaze during the communal incident. An additional superintendent of police, several policemen and persons who played Ram and Laxman at ‘Ravan dahan’ programme sustained injuries amongst others.
The administration had to issue shoot-at-sight orders and clamp a week-long curfew to control situation.
“This year, we are fully prepared to meet any eventuality,” superintendent of police Amit Singh said. Over 600 policemen will be deployed across the city while two drones will keep continuous watch on every incident. Additional police force has been called from seven districts.
More than 100 CCTV cameras will be installed on Dussehara day. Police cavalry and 20 motorcycle-borne policemen will be on the move when Shri Ram procession will be taken out from Pahadsinghpura on Dussehara evening. “Policemen will also walk in the procession. Peace committee members will keep watch,” Singh said.
Administration has identified 15 communally sensitive locations including Talaab Chowk, Mohan cinema, Chhoti Mohan Talkies, Khaskhasvadi and Pahadsinghpura where it will maintain special vigil. Dragon torches will be installed on storeyed buildings while special cameras will capture every detail even when electricity supply gets disrupted.
The police department said it will keep watch on social media for any provocative comments and take action against the administrator concerned. At the same time, it has appealed to residents to help maintain law and order in the district and inform it if they find anything wrong.
Last year, clashes had occurred near Mohan cinema after miscreants pelted stones on people who were returning home from Ravan dahan programme. This turned into full-fledged clash as a group of people retaliated in equal measure. Violence then spread out to other localities including Sanjay Nagar, Tavadi Mohalla, Goshala Marg, Talaab Chowk, Mohan cinema, Chhoti Mohan Talkies and other areas overnight.