Security has been stepped up throughout Kerala as a precautionary measure against the background of the verdict on the Ayodhya case slated for Thursday.

Restrictions on organising of marches, meetings and demonstrations are likely to be declared in other districts also later in the day. The ban orders have been declared in Kasaragod, Kannur, Malappuram, Alappuzha and Kollam districts from midnight on Wednesday. Ban orders came into force in Ernakulam district from this morning.

About 30,000 police men are proposed to be deployed by midnight to enforce the orders and maintain peace. Preventive arrests are also likely. Special security is being extended to important places of worship, railway stations and bus stands. Armed reserves have been positioned in district centres.

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has convened a meeting of higher officials of the Home Department and the Police this morning to review the situation and decide on further security arrangements. Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Director General of Police and additional directors general of police are to attend.

Forces deployed

Three companies of Armed Force Battalion have been deployed in Aluva, Kochi city and Alapuzha ahead of the Ayodhya verdict on Thursday.

T. Vikram, Superintendent of Police (Ernakulam Rural), told The Hindu on Wednesday morning that the battalions will keep a vigil against any untoward incident in view of the judgement. He said that the police have requested the District Collector to issue prohibitory orders against unlawful assembly and meetings in the district till October 3.

Mr. Vikram said that special intelligence teams have been deployed in all sensitive regions. He said that patrolling will be carried out in all such areas from tonight. Police pickets will be set up at several places as part of the heightened vigil in communally sensitive regions.

Mobile patrol

Mobile patrolling will also be strengthened across the district. Mr. Vikram said that local-level meetings to ensure peace and law and order will be held today. The police will monitor the situation on an hourly basis from tonight, he said.

Police are also keeping a close watch on the activities of the religious bodies in the run-up to the judgement.

Security beefed up in Kannur

Security and law and order enforcement arrangements in the district have been beefed up in view of the Allahabad High Court’s scheduled pronouncement of verdict in the Ayodhya case on September 30.

District Collector V.K. Balakrishnan clamped 24-hour prohibitory orders in the district beginning from 8 a.m. on September 30 as a precaution to avert any trouble in the wake of the court judgement.

Under the prohibitory orders, processions and marches, slogan shouting and meetings were banned. Three companies of armed police personnel had already been deployed in the district as part of strengthening the law and order measures against the backdrop of the scheduled pronouncement of the verdict.

Police officers here said that the armed police personnel were deployed in addition to local police personnel. One company of armed police would be kept in reserve under the Inspector General of Police (Kannur Range) Sudhesh Kumar. Police patrolling would be intensified in areas identified as sensitive, they said adding that the police would carry out inspections in the railway station, bus terminal and lodges.

The police officers met in the morning to review the security arrangements launched in the district. Separate meetings of religious and political leaders chaired by the Collector last week had called on the public to remain calm whatever the verdict of the court. The meetings also urged the people not to take out jubilant or protest marches after the verdict was pronounced.