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High alert ahead of Ayodhya verdict

Last updated on: September 29, 2010 17:34 IST

High alert ahead of Ayodhya verdict

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As the countdown began for the Ayodhya title suit verdict, security was on Wednesday beefed up throughout the country and reinforcements tightened in and around the disputed site in Uttar Pradesh, which has been placed under high alert.

Intensive searches were being carried out in the twin towns on Ayodhya and Faizabad and security personnel deployed there have been equipped with tear gas shells and rubber bullets. Intelligence units have also been put on high alert to monitor movement and activities of anti-social elements.

As a preventive measure, aerial survey, including at night, of sensitive places, including Ram Janmbhoomi complex in Ayodhya has been done, a senior official said in Lucknow.

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Image: A Rapid Action Force trooper keeps guard atop his armoured vehicle in Allahabad
Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters
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A heavy reinforcement of CRPF personnel has been made in and around the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court, which will pronounce the verdict.

Security of the three judges on the bench has already been beefed up.

Borders with adjoining Nepal and Uttarakhand have been sealed and a strict vigil was being maintained on all those coming to the state from these sides.

As a preventive measure, liquor and firecrackers shops would remain closed on Thursday.


Image: Rapid Action Force personnel patrol a road in Allahabad
Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters
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Security forces had already staged flag marches in all the sensitive places and districts, including Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura.

The UP government has already identified 25 districts as sensitive and 19 others as hyper-sensitive.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi have appealed to the people to maintain equanimity and tranquility in the aftermath of the Allahabad High Court's judgement on Thursday and asked them to "accept whatever" the verdict is.

The Centre has kept forces in readiness at 16 places for quick deployment, including by helicopters and heavy lift aircraft like IL-76 and An-32.


Image: A priest rides a motorcycle as policemen stand guard on a street in Ayodhya
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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The Home Ministry has issued an advisory to states and Union Territories to keep the forces on high alert as the judgement could trigger "sharp reactions".

Home Minister P Chidambaram said 1.90 lakh security personnel are available in Uttar Pradesh, which is more than enough to maintain law and order situation.

Chidambaram has already appealed for peace and advised against any hasty conclusion that one side has won or the other has lost in the case.

An alert has been sounded in Jammu to maintain peace, communal harmony and law and order. Peace committees of various religions have been set up in the districts to maintain harmony.


Image: Rapid Action Forces personnel patrol a road as a man on a horse cart passes by in Ayodhya
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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Rajasthan Police alerted senior officers in all the 33 districts to ensure public order, peace and harmony.

Internal security has been beefed up and intelligence agencies have been alerted to avert crisis or meet any exigency that may arise after the verdict, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Navdeep Singh said.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made in Kerala as a precautionary measure ahead of the verdict.

Over 30,000 police personnel, including rapid action force, anti-sabotage and strike forces and bomb squad, would be deployed from midnight across the state.


Image: policeman patrols outside a temple in Ayodhya
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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The Karnataka government has banned protests, demonstrations and processions to maintain peace and communal harmony in the state.

State Home Minister R Ashoka reviewed the situation with Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police in districts through video-conferencing and directed them to take all steps to maintain law and order.

Tight vigil is being maintained in Tamil Nadu and extra forces have been deployed in sensitive cities like Coimbatore and Tirunelveli ahead of the verdict.

"The entire state police of about one lakh has been mobilised and we are deploying additional forces at hyper-sensitive places such as Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Vellore and Hosur among others," ADGP (Law and Order) K Radhakrishnan said.


Image: Boys fly a kite as paramilitary soldiers patrol a road in Ayodhya
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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Heavy security arrangements have been made by Madhya Pradesh government to ensure that there is no untoward incident after the verdict, Inspector General (law & order and security) Ashok Kumar Soni said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee appealed to the people to maintain peace and harmony.

"In the past there has been no unwanted situation and in the present scenario also, I hope that no such situation will occur here. I appeal to all to maintain peace," he told reporters in Kolkata.

The Orissa government too sounded an alert across the state.

"We have directed all district magistrates and superintendents of police to remain alert to the situation," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told media persons.


Image: Policemen patrolling a road in Ayodhya on September 23
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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