In a first, the Uttar Pradesh Police is conducting “communal vulnerability mapping” to keep a check on inter-faith incidents during festivals, and this has helped to bring down the number of communal incidents in the state.
In 2014, there were 69 communal incidents during Muharram — when processions are carried out by the Muslim community. This Muharram, 13,261 processions were carried out, but the number of communal incidents came down to six, largely due to the communal vulnerability mapping and its implementation, police said.
According to the UP Police, data collated through feedback from thousands of stakeholders, including policemen, digital volunteers and citizens across the state serve as a reference point for identifying spots of possible communal incidents.
“For the last three months, we have been taking several steps in order to keep a check on communal incidents that take place during this (Muharram) period. We conducted a three-tier analysis of the (communal) incidents in the last six years in order to identify their pattern and locations. We carried out communal vulnerability mapping to develop a deployment plan. The use of social media monitoring in this process has been unprecedented,” said Director General Police (Uttar Pradesh) O P Singh.
In the run-up to Muharram this year, UP Police analysed the incidents of communal violence that took place in the same period in the past across the 75 districts of the state. Details of the incidents and FIRs were studied, followed by the present status of those cases and the possibility of the repeat of a similar incident. Backed with the information, an intra-police network was developed.
As part of communal vulnerability mapping, the police targeted regions prone to communal incidents and 10 people from each village were identified to carry out peace talks in an event of any communal tension. Once the police would receive information of any such incident, the group of people — identified as Sambhrant 10 — would be contacted through an app and asked to initiate peace talks with the help of local police, the DGP said.
According to the police, most of the “mapping” was done by the DGP Control Room that was integrated recently after the headquarters of Uttar Pradesh Police was shifted to the new Signature Building in Lucknow.
In the DGP office, a 24×7 UP-100 terminal was set up where real-time data of Dial-100 calls were being fed. Inside the control room, a team of six persons continuously monitored seven large TV screens with a different news channel running on each one of them. In a separate room, a head constable was deputed to monitor two computer screens with real-time Dial-100 data and information, said police.
As Ganesh Chaturthi and Muharram coincided this year, police developed and devised routes so that the two processions didn’t cross paths. “In the beginning, we faced some problems. In several cases, the police station in-charge, who was newly posted, had no idea about the past incidents.
In that case, the ‘festival register’ of the police station came in handy. In that register, the station in-charge writes about every incident that took place in their area and how it was resolved. The next in-charge can get all the information from the register,” Additional SP, Law & Order, Chiranjeev Sinha, said.
A similar roadmap is being drawn for the upcoming Dussehra festival, police said. In 2017, 12 people were injured and several vehicles were burnt during clashes at three places on a single day with the coinciding of Muharram and Dussehra that year.
— With inputs from Avaneesh Mishra in Lucknow