For the first time in the election history of the state, the Mumbai Police have sought help from the Air Force and Navy for the maintaining the state’s internal security during the Assembly polls on Tuesday.
On Monday, Joint commissioner of police, law and order, Himanshu Roy said the help had been sought from the two defence wings to bolster surveillance during the day.
“Over 90 per cent of our force (police) would be deployed on election duty. We don’t want to leave any part of the city unguarded,” Roy said explaining the need to rope in armed forces on the polling day.
He said while Navy has already endorsed the proposal and agreed to move some of their warships from deep waters to the coast on patrolling duty, the Air Force, which had been asked to provide helicopters for aerial surveillance has not responded yet.
“We hope they (Air Force) will respond positively,” Roy added. The Coast Guard has already been informed to assist the Navy in the coastal patrolling duty.
Roy, however, made it clear that the help has been sought as a precautionary measure and not in the backdrop of any specific terror alert. “We don’t want to take chances,” he added.
Roy said the 40,000 strong Mumbai Police have been mobilised for election duty, while 30 companies of paramilitary forces have arrived for assistance.
He said the 35,000 eligible voters from the Mumbai Police have been provided with postal ballots so that they could cast their votes.
Of the 8,600 polling booths in the city, 93 have been earmarked as vulnerable —as the constituencies are for reserved category — while 136 are critical from the law and order point of view.
One policeman would be deployed at each booth, for the critical ones, the number would be more, Roy said adding that their number was according to the requirement.
The police have rounded up over 7,000 known trouble makers from across the city as a preventive measure.
Thy have also registered FIRs in 28 offences for the violation of the Model Code of Conduct during the electioneering, while 56 non cognizable offences and 95 offences under local acts had been registered during that period.
Forty-five illegal firearms and 135 prohibitory sharp edged weapons had been confiscated, while 173 licensed weapons (out of total 9,414 licensed weapons in the city) had been confiscated as the license holders failed to deposite them as per the law.