Shaken by sporadic incidents of communal violence in recent months, the state police are preparing a plan to check such clashes. With the focus on policing and intelligence gathering at the police station level, the anti-riot plan would be on test during Diwali as well as Moharram.
A senior police officer said, “Earlier, along with the local intelligence agency, the police stations had their own intelligence network in the respective areas. The in-charges of the police station used to get regular inputs from informers about activities in various villages and localities. The information was passed on to the superintendent of police and quick action was taken to nip trouble in the bud.”
But the probe into recent violence indicated that intelligence gathering by police stations had stopped, rendering the old system of policing defunct. Trouble was brewing in Ghaziabad, Mathura and Bareilly since long, but the in-charge of the police stations acted only after clashes took place. They were either oblivious to the activities in their police station area or ignored it for one reason or the other. The focus of the new anti-riot plan will be on police stations and gearing up the machinery for quick action.
“Rather than Diwali, the peaceful organisation of Moharram is the main concern for us,” said the police officer and added “a large number of tazia processions are taken out in villages and towns. The district administration officers have been directed to prepare the procession route and to ensure there is no hindrance”.
Fourteen people were killed in nine incidents of communal violence in the state in the last seven months. Property worth several crore rupees was destroyed. The similar pattern of the riots worried the police. In a majority of the cases, localised disputes over trivial matters led to communal violence.
The director general of police and home department officers had a two-day video conferencing session with the district magistrates and superintendents of police of all the districts. The officers were directed to identify sensitive spots in respective districts and deploy adequate force to check any untoward incident.
Talking to HT, additional director general (law and order) Arun Kumar said, “there should be coordination between the civil police, provincial armed constabulary (PAC) and the rapid action force (RAF) during deployment in a riot-hit area”. In Faizabad, a delay in the mobilisation of the force led to the spread of violence. Now, the superintendents of police have been told to act immediately to check violence.
The state police have also prepared special plans for some districts, including Varanasi, Mau, Jaunpur, Kanpur, Bareilly and Agra. The deployment of the PAC for poll duty in Gujarat has put pressure on the state police and the police officials have started preparing to fill the manpower gap.