Two days after Hindustan Times reported that the Maharashtra government plans to hang 1993 serial bomb blasts convict Yakub Memon on July 30, subject to the Supreme Court rejecting his curative petition on July 21, Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria has put his force on alert.
He has asked officers to gather ground-level intelligence from parts of the city to prevent a possible flare-up in reaction to Memon’s execution. Security will also be stepped up in the Memon family’s neighbourhood at Mahim.
On Wednesday evening, Maria called a meeting of senior police officers – deputy commissioners and above – and discussed security concerns in the period leading up to Memon’s possible execution. While the Supreme Court still has the power to commute Memon’s punishment to life in jail, the police’s plan emphasises what must be done if his death sentence is upheld next Tuesday.
With Eid around the corner, the police say they don’t want Muslims to get the wrong message about the execution. A senior police officer, who did not wish to be named, said, “The police force has been instructed to step up vigilance in specific pockets in the city to find out if there have been adverse reactions to the news about Memon’s hanging. Policemen have been asked to keep in touch with community groups in these pockets to ensure that the state government’s decision is not misconstrued.”
The anti-terror cells of various police stations have been entrusted with doing this, while other policemen will conduct surprise checks and anti-sabotage checks at hotels and lodges. The traffic police will conduct more nakabandis, while companies of the state reserve police will be posted at sensitive spots.