Communally sensitive districts in Gujarat put on alert

Ahead of the Special Court's judgment in the Godhra train carnage on Tuesday, the Gujarat police have taken precautionary measures to meet any eventuality.

Special Court judge P.R. Patel is expected to deliver the judgment in camera in the high security Sabarmati central jail on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, where the court was functioning since it was constituted by the Gujarat High Court.

Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) Sudhir Sinha said the communally sensitive districts, particularly those which witnessed violent reaction after the train carnage in 2002 in north and central Gujarat, including Ahmedabad, Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Kheda, Anand, Vadodara, the Panchamahals and Broach, were alerted and extra police forces dispatched to maintain law and order in case of any communal flare-up.

Prohibitory orders

The Collectors in these districts have been asked to impose prohibitory orders banning assembly of more than four persons and carrying of weapons and advise the electronic media, particularly the local ones, not to carry footage of the 2002 carnage or riots in case of another flare-up.

Some districts like Ahmedabad and the Panchamahals had already imposed the ban, while others would follow suit in the next couple of days, Mr. Sinha said. Godhra is the district headquarters of the Panchamahals.

Additional policemen

An additional deployment of over 10,000 policemen would be made in Ahmedabad on the judgment day while Godhra would have additional 2,000 policemen besides about 1,500 State reserve police personnel. The police would also provide security cover to the families of all the 92 accused in the case, he said.

The authorities, however, did not anticipate any disturbances, particularly because of the time lag. Being almost eight years in jail, most of the accused might have almost completed the jail term they might get in case of convictions and even in cases of life imprisonment, if any, it would not be very long before they would be free. “But we are not taking any chances,” Mr. Sinha said.