A district magistrate’s order imposing Section 144, which bans unlawful assembly of people, in North Goa district citing “intelligence inputs regarding possible terror threats” and “in view of the prevailing situation in the country”, has left Goa Police confused and flummoxed, with senior officials saying “they were unaware of any such intelligence input”.
While Goa Police admitted it was a routine order, the confusion they said was on the “first few lines” as there was “no valuable input on intelligence threat with us at this stage”.
Moreover, the order flags the “possibility of antisocial elements” with “an intention of committing crime”. The two-page order also makes it mandatory for tenants to verify antecedents of occupants before granting accommodation at homes and hotels.
“It is necessary to ensure proper verification of the antecedents of persons staying in residential accommodation on rent or in hotels, lodging, and boarding, private guest houses, paying guest accommodation of religious bodies, etc,” the order issued under the Home Department by the district magistrate read.
The order has been imposed for two months, starting February 11. With Goa to host the Carnival this weekend, the order has raised eyebrows among many Goans on the schedule of the annual event, which is a very crowded affair.
“We have to check too. As first responders we are not aware of any intelligence inputs that have been shared with us from the centre,” said a senior official.
The BJP-ruled Goa government had come under criticism from the Opposition for routine imposition of Section 144. Prohibitory orders have been imposed in the state since the Supreme Court verdict on the Ramjanmabhoomi temple issue in mid-October, which was later extended for over a month.
The Opposition had also pointed to Section 144 orders being renewed in the wake of anti-CAA protests.