Police vehicles are being repaired, the armoury is being re-visited to ensure that there are no last-minute glitches and even the public address system is being tested.
“It is important for us that vehicles and the public address system are in perfect order in places that are communally sensitive. This would not just help in countering rumours and also help in crowd control. Rumours and uncontrolled mobs can play havoc in a situation, where mass sentiment is involved,” said a senior police officer.
The Police headquarters has already issued directions to police chiefs in the 34 communally sensitive districts including Meerut, Agra, Aligarh, Rampur, Bareilly, Ferozabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Saharanpur, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr and Azamgarh.
Underlining the importance of the public address systems in policing, former deputy general of police (DGP) Brjlal recalled, “Two days after the Babri Masjid demolition, a subordinate informed me that a rumour of my murder was being circulated in Meerut and tension was building up. I was SSP Meerut then. I took to the public address system and cleared the air. Today with WhatsApp and SMS, such rumours can fly at an alarming speed.”
Brijlal said he was assistant deputy general of police (ADGP) – Law and Order during the Allahabad High Court verdict on Ayodhya in September 2010, and he ensured that the public address systems were in place in all districts.
The Police Department is also getting its vehicles repaired and serviced so that there are no commuting problems in case of any emergency.
“We are already tracking the social media in a big way to check for rumours and misinformation being passed around. Our focus is also on potential trouble makers and we may opt for preventive detention if the situation demands,” said the police official.