UP turns into a fortress ahead of Ayodhya verdict

LUCKNOW: A thick security blanket has been thrown on UP with paramilitary forces keeping an aerial vigil of sensitive places, including the disputed site in Ayodhya, even as the High Court, which would be pronouncing the verdict, has been declared a "no-access zone" restricting the entry to only those connected with the case listed today.

The intelligence network is on high alert throughout the state 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, police sources said, adding the force deployment has been such that it would take minimum time for them to reach any troubled spot. Read: 22 Uttar Pradesh areas under air surveillance

All the security personnel deployed in Ayodhya and Faizabad have been equipped with tear gas shells and rubber bullets and the gazetted officers of various government departments have been asked to assist in policing. They have also been provided with rubber bullets and tear gas shells.

Helicopters have been kept on alert and asked to keep a vigil on activities of mischievous elements, sources said, adding though there is no ban on movement of people but strict vigil is being maintained and hospitals and doctors have been put on alert to remain prepared in case of any eventuality.

Three dog squads, four bomb disposal squads, five anti-sabotage teams and fire tenders have also been deployed at strategic points in Ayodhya and Faizabad where a total of 20 companies (over 2000 personnel) of CRPF has been deployed for the inner security of the Ram Janmbhoomi complex, besides 38 other companies of police and PAC for the twin towns and 16 other companies for rural areas, police sources said.

In Lucknow, 20 companies of the CPMF, 30 officers and 900 special police officers have been deployed and the sale of liquor and firecrackers has been banned to check any overt display of victory or defeat.

The media which is being kept away form the court premises with arrangements for press briefing about the verdict at the collectorate premises, has been also been advised against speculating on the verdict.

A control room has been set up at the DGP headquarters here with six phone numbers being made public to facilitate any information about trouble makers.

The security of the three judges of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, who would be pronouncing the verdict has been increased and one platoon of PAC (about 20 personnel), five CRPF personnel have been deployed at their respective residences, besides an escort and pilot car and one PSO each have also been provided to them.

A deputy SP rank officer has been made in-charge of the judges security, the sources said.[TTI]

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