Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government has sought 35,000 paramilitary personnel as part of its contingency planning ahead of the much-awaited verdict in the volatile 125-year-old Ramjanmbhoomi-Babri Masjid case.
A three-judge special bench of the Allahabad High Court, which concluded its hearing in the long pending case last month, will announce its verdict Sep 17.
Before the High Court are three fundamental questions: Is the disputed spot in Ayodhya the birthplace of Lord Ram? Was the Babri mosque built after the demolition of a temple? Was the mosque in question built in accordance with the tenets of Islam?
The dispute led to the demolition of the 16th century Babri Masjid by radical Hindu activists in December 1992, triggering widespread communal violence.
Fearing that the verdict could prompt further trouble, Chief Minister Mayawati Monday evening met Governor BL Joshi to discuss the issue.
"The Chief Minister apprised the Governor of the request that the state had moved the union home ministry for 400 companies of central paramilitary forces across the entire state," a top state official said. This was apart from the state police and PAC (provincial armed constabulary) deployment.
"We cannot take any chances. We must have sufficient precautionary measures in place to prevent mischief-mongers from inciting trouble," the official added.
While there will be heavy deployment of security personnel in and around the twin towns of Ayodhya and Faizabad, central forces would also be kept in readiness in all other communally sensitive cities and towns of the state, the country`s most populous.
Besides Ayodhya-Faizabad, vigil will also be mounted before the verdict in towns such as Varanasi, Mathura, Lucknow, Kanpur, Gonda, Bahraich, Allahabad, Aligarh, Moradabad and Meerut.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting of administrative and police officials presided over by Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh here Tuesday.
"While it is most unlikely that anyone would be able to take the issue to the hype it got in December 1992, when violent Hindu karsewaks stormed and pulled down the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, we cannot ignore how certain groups have, of late, started raising the Ram temple pitch," a high ranking official observed.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) chief Ashok Singhal, who played a prominent role in heightening tensions, has termed as "uncalled for" the government`s decision to beef up security.
"The government is creating tension through such proposed elaborate security arrangements. I do not see any cause for tension as the temple has to be built there."
He refused to contemplate a situation where the verdict would go against the Hindu claim of believing the disputed Ayodhya site as the birthplace of Hindu warrior god.
While the High Court will determine the key issues relating to right over the disputed property, the case relating to the demolition of the mosque has been pending before a separate special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Lucknow.