Ahead of the 25th anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition, the Centre has written to states and Union Territories to maintain “utmost vigil” after intelligence reports stated that “both communities” (Hindu and Muslim) may organise “demonstration, protest or dharna” in different parts of the country, said officials from the Union Home Ministry.
The Home Ministry’s communication also comes in the wake of the Supreme Court hearing on the Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid title dispute on Tuesday during which the apex court fixed the next date of hearing on February 8 next year. The advisory was issued on December 1 and cited recent reports on the Ayodhya dispute by the Intelligence Bureau, said officials.
In its letter, the Home Ministry urged all states to remain cautious and ensure that there was peace. It also directed the DGPs to deploy adequate forces at sensitive places and maintain utmost vigil so that attempts to disturb peace could be foiled, said officials.
The states were further directed to set up peace committees and Quami Ekta Committees, comprising prominent citizens, community leaders and representatives of political parties in communally-sensitive areas and to ensure that police and district authorities maintain regular contact with them, officials said.
On November 30, the director, Intelligence Bureau, had sent a similar alert to states’ police forces. The states have been asked to follow the guidelines to maintain communal harmony issued by the Home Ministry in 2008 where it has been suggested that Religious Institutions (Prevention and Misuse) Act, 1988 be invoked to prevent misuse of religious institutions for political and other purposes and The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, to punish any damage to places of worship, said officials.
A senior government official said, “… many incidents of communal violence can be pre-empted and prevented.”