CJI Gogoi meets top UP officials ahead of Ayodhya verdict

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A bench headed by CJI Gogoi is slated to pronounce the verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute issue before he retires on November 17. Photo: PTI

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Friday (November 8) held a meeting with Uttar Pradesh chief secretary and director general of police and took stock of security arrangements ahead of the verdict to be pronounced next week in the politically-sensitive Ayodhya land dispute case, sources said.

They said the meeting was held in the chamber of CJI for around one hour during which UP Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari and DGP Om Prakash Singh apprised him about the security arrangements made to maintain law and order in the state.

No further detail about the deliberations was made available.

The judgement on the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute was reserved on October 16 after a marathon hearing of 40 days. The judgement is likely to be pronounced before November 17 as Justice Gogoi’s tenure as the CJI comes to end on that day.

The CJI has called Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari and DGP Om Prakash Singh and will have the meeting in his chamber, the agency quoted sources as saying.

Even as the Centre on Thursday (November 7) asked all states to remain alert and ensure security in sensitive areas, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held a late-night video conference with top civil and police officials and divisional commissioners and district magistrates.

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During the meeting, it was decided that two helicopters will be on standby in Lucknow and Ayodhya as part of the security arrangements. The helicopters will be used in case of an emergency, an official said. An official release later said the chief minister reviewed the law and order situation in each district and gave necessary directions to ensure normalcy. It was also decided that a state-level control room will be set up in Lucknow. Every district will also have a separate control room, the release said.

Adityanath warned that strict action will be taken against anyone trying to disturb the law and order.

Meanwhile, 12,000 policemen have been deployed in the state. Leaves of RPF jawans have been cancelled. The state government is conducting anti-riot drills anticipating law and order situation in the state following the verdict.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has also dispatched around 4,000 paramilitary personnel for security deployment in Uttar Pradesh, particularly in Ayodhya. A general advisory has been sent to all states and Union territories asking them to deploy adequate security personnel in all sensitive places and ensure that no untoward incident takes place anywhere in the country, a home ministry official said.

Also read: Ahead of verdict, Ayodhya to witness heavy rush of pilgrims on Kartik Purnima

The ministry has rushed 40 companies of paramilitary forces to Uttar Pradesh to assist the state government in maintaining law and order. A company of paramilitary forces comprises about 100 personnel. According to reports, directives have been issued by the police headquarters to police chiefs in 34 communally sensitive districts including Meerut, Agra, Aligarh, Rampur, Bareilly, Ferozabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Saharanpur, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr and Azamgarh.

Meanwhile, Faizabad police have deployed 16,000 volunteers to keep an eye against objectionable content on social media. Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh has asked the police to file cases against the offenders on social media under National Security Act (NSA).”We have prepared a four-layered security plan. In case one plan fails, it will be taken over by another,” NDTV quoted a senior police official as saying.

The four security zones that have been created are: red, yellow, green and blue. While red and yellow will be manned by Central Para Military Forces (CPMF), green and blue will be manned by civil police, he added. The red security zone covers the disputed site, the yellow zone covers 5 miles periphery of Ayodhya, the green covers 14 miles periphery of the temple town and the blue zone covers the adjoining districts of Ayodhya.

The Goa government too on Thursday imposed prohibitory orders in the state until further orders. Additional District Magistrate Vikas SN Gaunekar said in his order that “upon delivery of the verdict there are chances of communal disharmony” and that processions or protests by various groups could disturb peace. The magistrate executing his powers under section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure, has prohibited the gathering of five or more persons, taking out processions or rallies, carrying firearms or lathis, swords, daggers or spears among others, as well as use of loudspeakers, shouting of slogans and burning of firecrackers in public spaces.

The judgement on the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute was reserved on October 16 after a marathon hearing of 40 days. A verdict by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi-led bench of the Supreme Court in Ayodhya case is expected before November 17, when the CJI retires. It is to be noted that, section 144 has been imposed in Ayodhya till December 28.

The advisory from the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has also said that leaves of all its personnel have been cancelled and they have been instructed to be engaged in escorting trains. The advisory, which covers aspects like security at platforms, railway stations, yard, parking space, bridges and tunnels as well as production units and workshops, has earmarked all potential hotspots which could either be a site for any violence or could be used to hide explosives.

(With inputs from agencies)