One of the first assignments for new Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed is the task of ensuring security during Ganeshotsav, an important festival in the city. Days before the festival, he is facing another tough job of ensuring that there is no flare-up on Friday, when the verdict in the 2006 bomb blasts case is likely to be given by a special court.
There is already a high threat perception in the city following the execution of Yakub Memon in the 1993 bomb blasts case. The verdict on Friday is expected to be watched by security circles. The police have ordered a citywide bandobast on Friday, and were talking to religious leaders at the local level till late on Thursday night. The special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court is expected to deliver the verdict around 11:00 am on Friday. Police said that all manpower has been pressed into service for Friday’s bandobast.
The city already has 12 companies of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) on standby since July to augment its 55000-strong force, and all will be deployed, said officers. “Proper bandobast has been made and all other arrangements have been put in place,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deven Bharti. Sources said that special focus will be on communally sensitive spots from Friday morning to midnight, to ensure there is no backlash of any kind after the verdict is delivered.
Before Yakub Memon’s execution, the police had approached local and religious leaders all over the city and enlisted their aid in maintaining peace. Sources said that all of these people have been contacted again, and police officers at various levels will be in touch with them throughout Friday to get constant updates about the mood in the city.
Top police officials were in a meeting till late on Thursday night to discuss details of Friday’s bandobast, while officers at police station level chalked out deployment and patrolling plans.
Javed could not be reached for comment.