From HM to NSA, Centre monitors security on Ayodhya verdict day

Hyderabad: Union Home Minister Amit Shah felicitates a meritorious officer during the ‘Dikshant’ Passing Out Parade (POP) of IPS Probationers of the 70 RR (2017 batch) at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad on Aug 24, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) Security preparedness were already in place across the country with alerts issued to avert any untoward incidents on Saturday, but the Central security dispensation was also busy the whole day in keeping tabs on the law and order situation as the Supreme Court announced its much-awaited judgment on the Ayodhya title dispute.

Hours ahead of the verdict, Union Home Minister Amit Shah called a high-level security review meeting at his residence at 6A, Krishna Menon Marg here to take stock of law and order situation and preparedness across the country.

The meeting was attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Director Intelligence Bureau Arvind Kumar and other senior Home Ministry officials.

In the meeting, which lasted for one and a half hours, Shah was apprised about the security arrangements in all states, details of inputs received from intelligence agencies on the ground situation and social media activities, and preparedness to deal with riot-like situation or any untoward incident.

It was learnt that the Home Minister directed to deal any anti-social incidents peacefully but firmly and keep tab on each and every developments that may impact law and order in the country.

Sources said that Shah specially focused on security arrangements in Ayodhya which was turned into a virtual fortress on Saturday with over 40,000 police and paramilitary personnel guarding almost each nook and corner of the temple town.

As a precautionary measure, the Centre had already sent 40 companies — around 4,000 personnel — of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) or paramilitary forces to Ayodhya, including 16 companies of Central Reserve Police Force, and the rest drawn from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the Central Industrial Security, the Sashastra Seema Bal and the Rapid Action Force to aid the state police.

Meanwhile, soon after the meeting at Amit Shah’s house, the Home Secretary met Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and briefed him about the status of security arrangements in all states. By then, the Supreme Court had announced its most landmark verdict granting the ownership of the 2.77 acres of disputed land in Ayodhya to the Hindus, paving the way for the construction of a Ram Temple, while ruling that the Muslims will get 5 acres of land at an alternative site.

The Union Home Ministry was also busy in collecting law and order information from all states and Union Territories (UTs).

Special Secretary Internal Security A.P. Maheshwari himself talked to the Director Generals of Police of all states and UTs and took stock of law and order arrangements in their respective areas.

Informed sources in the Home Ministry told IANS that Maheshwari received the information shared by the Centre and state intelligence machineries and took cognizance of communications as well as derogatory content being circulated on social media against the Ayodhya verdict.

The five-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, pronounced its verdict on the disputed Ayodhya site case on Saturday, having reserved it on October 16 after hearing the Ayodhya case on a day-to-day basis for 40 days.

The Hindu parties, during the hearing, had argued that the entire 2.77-acre land is the birthplace of Lord Ram while the Muslim parties claimed the title over the land, saying Muslims had ownership of the land since 1528 when the mosque was built.

Before the verdict, sources said, Uttar Pradesh Police had been keeping watch on over 1,500 people on social media to maintain peace in the state. Director General of Police O.P. Singh, meanwhile, reportedly ensured over 6,000 peace committee meetings and met nearly 5,800 religious leaders on two levels at the police station level in presence of station house officers and at the district level.

The Uttar Pradesh Police had also identified over 10,000 anti-social elements and they were bound down under the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) to ensure they do not disturb the peace. Of them, over 400 such people were caught and put behind bars, said the source.

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