Drone surveillance, flag marches, mock drills in several UP districts ahead of SC verdict
The state police conducted mock drills, flag marches and ensured aerial surveillance through drone cameras in several districts, including Ayodhya, on Thursday as it beefed up security ahead of the Supreme Court verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.
These moves coincided with the state government appointing an additional director general-rank officer Ashutosh Pandey as incharge of security arrangements in view of the Ayodhya issue even as 4,000 central para-military forces were deployed.
The centre has issued advisories to states, including Uttar Pradesh, to remain alert in view of the verdict.
The government has identified several schools in various districts to set up temporary jails if the need arises. Besides, a government official added, “Many schools have been identified to accommodate security forces.”
Soon after taking charge, Pandey began camping in Ayodhya to take stock of the security arrangements.
“The increasing number of devotees for Kartik Purnima (November 12) and the huge crowd during Panch Kosi Parikrama (on Thursday) is our biggest challenge. We are focusing on crowd management,” he said.
He also said meetings with local people were being held at the district, police station and beat level to ensure ensure all went off well.
Drone cameras were used during the parikrama, said a police officer.
The police conducted surveillance through drone cameras across the Saryu river in Ayodhya on Thursday. The drones will be used to keep an eye on people around the festivities as well as to ensure that law and order was maintained when the verdict came, said Pandey.
CIVIL VOLUNTEERS OF AYODHYA POLICE
Ayodhya police have launched a mobile application, linking 16,000 volunteers. These volunteers will keep an eye on the situation in their respective villages. The police had earlier reinforced the zone-wise security. A police official added the central paramilitary forces will be deployed in red and yellow zones. The red security zone comprises the disputed site, the yellow zone comprises the five mile (panch kosi) periphery of Ayodhya and the green zone covers the 14-mile (14 Kosi) periphery of the town, he said. The blue zone comprises the adjoining districts of Ayodhya, he said. This is an old system, used to maintain the law and order here.
DM HOLDS MEETING WITH OPPOSITION PARTIES
Ayodhya district magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha on Thursday held a meeting with opposition parties, including Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress leaders, and urged them to assist the police and administration in maintaining law and order.
“Political parties have been urged to assist the administration,” he said.
An official privy to the meeting said, “Some of the political party representatives had some reservations regarding security, which the district administration clarified. The parties were made aware of the security arrangements as well as the order issued for invoking section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, banning gatherings, meetings and rallies in the district till December 28.”
Jha said, “We have made all arrangements to deal with any kind of situation. As far as arranging temporary jails and other activities, these are parts of standard operating procedures. Hopefully, we shall not require them.”
LUCKNOW TO HAVE EMERGENCY OPERATION CENTRE-
From November 9 onwards, an emergency operation centre will be set up at the UP 112 headquarters in Lucknow. Zone-wise, eight desks will be set up involving officials of the 112 emergency response system, Local Intelligence Unit, Anti-Terrorist Squad, Provincial Armed Constabulary and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) to deal with any situation. The emergency centre will be useful to deal with any kind of communication failure. The centre will also keep an eye on all sensitive districts through drone cameras, said a senior police official, pleading anonymity.
CAPTION: Drone surveillance and ADG Ashutosh Pandey taking stock of security arrangements in Ayodhya.