Security has been tightened across the city and schools and colleges would remain shut on Saturday in view of the Supreme Court's verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case in Ayodhya, a top police officer said on Friday. "About 15,000 policemen and women will be deployed by Saturday morning in and around the city to maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incident," Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao told reporters here.
The Karnataka government has declared a holiday for all schools and colleges across the city on Saturday. "Schools and colleges will remain closed on Saturday as a precautionary measure to ensure safety and security of the students and their faculty," state Education Minister Suresh Kumar said. Ban order under section 144 of the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) will be in force from 7.00 a.m. till midnight on Saturday to prevent assembling of more than 5 persons in public places.
"All liquor shops across the city will remain shut on Saturday. Social media will be monitored through the day to check and block provocative messages or pictures and videos from being circulated under the cyber laws as they cause trouble," Rao asserted.
Maintaining law and order
In view of the sensitivity of the decades-old dispute and the likely fallout of the verdict by a five-judge constitutional bench, 50 platoons of the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP), 30 platoons of the City Armed Police (CAR) and 20 platoons of home guards will be deployed in sensitive areas, densely-populated localities and VIP zones in the tech hub.
"Mobile patrolling will be held across the city to maintain law and order and round up mischief mongers and trouble-makers," Rao noted. The police are also deploying bomb-detection and dog squads to sniff out any explosive material in sensitive areas of the city. "All the officers and their deputies have been told to report for duty by 7 a.m. on Saturday to supervise security arrangements and take safety measures in all areas," added Rao.
Rao also cautioned all the news channels against airing footage of the 16th-century mosque and its demolition on December 6, 1992, and in its aftermath. In view of the ban order, processions, demonstrations and protests will not be allowed across the city by the people, groups, organisations and political parties. A high alert has also been sounded across the southern state, with ban order in cities and towns in all the remaining 28 districts.
"Additional forces have been deployed in all cities and towns across the state to maintain law and order and prevent any trouble," Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) A.K. Pandey said. To instill confidence in the people and warn anti-social elements from taking the law into their hands, flag marches will be conducted in cities and towns across the state. "Phone calls, including those made through Whatsapp and video, messages and postings on Facebook, Twitter and all other social media platforms will be monitored to block those that may provoke or cause trouble for the people," added Pandey.