Ayodhya: Security Enhanced Ahead of Supreme Court Verdict on 9th Nov 19; Police on High Alert
The Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case is of disputed land in Ayodhya that has been politically and communally sensitive ever since the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. While there are many appeals related to the case that the Supreme Court is hearing, the main litigants in the case are the Nirmohi Akhara, Ram Lalla (Under the representation of the Hindu Mahasabha), and the Sunni Waqf Board. A ruling by the Allahabad High Court in 2010 had asked the three parties to share the disputed land with each getting one-third of the land. However, an appeal was later filed in the Supreme Court against the Allahabad High Court verdict and the Supreme Court stayed the Allahabad High Court order.
The litigants await the Supreme Court verdict that is likely to be pronounced at 10.30 AM on 9th November 19. Section 144 has been imposed in Ayodhya, until December 10. Additionally, ban on use of drones, firecrackers and any other object which can be weaponised have been put in place to prevent any untoward incident in the run up to the verdict. The District Magistrate (DM) in Ayodhya has issued directives to people asking them not to make defamatory remarks against any religion, deities, community, eminent people in public life on social media platforms. Schools have been closed in the state of UP from 9-11 Nov 19. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued general advisory to all states and Union territories asking them to deploy adequate security personnel at all sensitive places.
On pronouncement of the verdict, there is a potential for incidents of unrest even leading to violence in Ayodhya, nearby areas and prominent cities which are communally sensitive. Latest inputs indicate that security has been enhanced in Ayodhya and other parts of Uttar Pradesh state in anticipation of the Supreme Court verdict. Intelligence agencies are on high alert in Ayodhya and rest of Uttar Pradesh. Additional security forces are likely to be deployed over the next few days in Ayodhya to mitigate any potential threat.
The police are undertaking special exercises like closely monitoring messages, keeping a vigil on new posters and slogans put up on walls in public places across Uttar Pradesh. The police are also conducting regular peace committee meetings that comprises influential members belonging to both communities in the Ayodhya case. Public address systems installed at various places across the state of Uttar Pradesh are also being examined by the police. Sporadic violence and law and order situation can also be triggered in other parts of the country by anti-social elements.
Impact on Major Indian Cities
The verdict is likely to have a spill over effect in many parts of India especially on major cities that have a few communally sensitive areas.
In Mumbai, the police have issued prohibitory orders especially in sensitive areas and are keeping a close watch on social media activities ahead of the Supreme Court verdict. Prohibitory orders have been imposed as a precautionary measure by the Mumbai Police from November 4-18, restricting any unlawful assembly of people. Further, the cyber cell will monitor activities on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and other such platforms.
Security has been enhanced in the Delhi NCR area to mitigate any untoward incident. Schools and colleges have been advised to remain closed in Delhi, Nodia, Greater Noida, Gurugram, and Ghaziabad. Section 144 has been imposed in sensitive areas to prevent unlawful gathering of people. Social media platforms are being monitored for provocative posts that may disrupt law and order.
Security has been enhanced in sensitive areas in Bhopal to mitigate any untoward incident ahead of the Supreme Court verdict. Section 144 has been imposed to prevent unlawful gathering and will remain in effect for the next two months in Bhopal.
The Telangana State intelligence department has stepped up its surveillance to mitigate any potential incident of unrest in Hyderabad ahead of the Supreme Court verdict. The police are also on high alert to foil any possible protest across the city. The social media platforms are also being monitored for any provocative posts that could disrupt law and order.
In Chennai leave has been cancelled for the Tamil Nadu Police from November 10 to prevent any untoward incident in the city following the court verdict. According to the Tamil Nadu Director General of Police (DGP), all the special units have been instructed to be ready for deployment in Law and Order duties and mobilisation of strength is expected to be on the lines of that of election duties.
Security has been enhanced in Bengaluru ahead of the Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya issue to prevent any untoward incident. Schools and colleges have been instructed to remain closed in Bengaluru on November 9. The Paramilitary and Rapid Action Force have also been deployed on security duty. The police have also held meetings with various religious groups of the majority and minority community appealing them to maintain calm. Precautionary measures are being taken by the police to ensure that there is no disruption of law and order.
Political and Social Impact
The various political stakeholders in the dispute have asked their supporters to maintain peace and harmony irrespective of the court verdict. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) held meetings with various Muslim clerics and groups to maintain peace and communal harmony. However, in the likelihood of the verdict not going in favour of one of the major stakeholders there is a possibility of potential clashes and backlash from certain religious and political groups. . Prime Minister has also appealed to all citizens to maintain harmony.
- Remain vigilant and exercise increase caution especially if traveling to Ayodhya and other parts of Uttar Pradesh due to potential civil unrest.
- Report any unclaimed suspicious package to the authorities immediately.
- Monitor media reports for updates on the case and related developments.
- Minimise movements if staying in communally sensitive areas/cities
- It is advisable to defer any non-essential travel plans to Ayodhya and Uttar Pradesh until situation clarifies.
- Carry identification documents due to heightened security presence.
- Do not engage in any conversation with strangers on religious issues especially the verdict.
- Leave the area at the first sight of any unrest.
- Do not stop to watch or photograph protesters.
- Do not attempt to cross roadblocks erected by protesters.
- Monitor IIRIS alerts for related updates.