Nearly 12,000 people on our radar and over 500 arrested: OP Singh

Uttar Pradesh’s director general of police OP Singh told ET in an interview that 1,659 people are being watched on social media ahead of the Ayodhya verdict and that Internet may be shut if the need arises. Excerpts:
On precautions being taken

The main message to the police force is to maintain peace at any cost. We are taking all precautions – from posting adequate forces, foot patrolling by senior police officers and district magistrates meeting religious leaders. We have done over 6,000 peace committee meetings and met nearly 5,800 religious leaders. These meetings have been done at two levels – at the police station level, where our station house officers were present, and at the district level where our senior officers have participated. A robust contingency plan is in place now and we are in touch with Army and the Indian Air Force too.

On preventive arrests …
Over 10,000 anti-social elements have been identified by us and they have been bound down under the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) to ensure they do not disturb peace – 450 such people have been put behind bars. Another focus is on social media and to check any inflammatory comments on various social media platforms for which a dedicated team is devoted. We have identified 1,659 people on social media and are keeping a close eye on them – 593 out of them have also been made to sign a bond under CrPC to ensure they do not make any controversial or inflammatory comment. In cases where such comments have been made on social media, we have arrested 70 such people so far.

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On entry and Internet restrictions

We have done strong barricading of sensitive locations, including in Ayodhya. In case entry is to be restricted , we can enforce it. If need be, we can also suspend Internet facility, but so far we have not felt the need to do so. Crowd management and stopping circulation of any rumours is on the top of our agenda. We have asked the Centre for more help in terms of paramilitary forces and have already got 40 paramilitary companies – we will need 70 more companies and they may arrive soon. This is apart from UP Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) battalions and local police forces which are on duty.

On challenge of ongoing festivals

This is a festive time in Ayodhya with thousands doing a parikrama of the town. On November 10, we have Eid-e-Milad and from November 11-13 is the Kartik Purnima Mela where devotees will be taking a bath in the Saryu in Ayodhya. We are confident all the events will pass off peacefully.



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