LUCKNOW: While sprucing up the security to the highest level in the wake of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other dignitaries to Ayodhya for Bhoomi Pujan ceremony on August 5, Special Protection Group (SPG) arrived in the temple town on Saturday. UP police have decided to deploy around 4,000 COVID-19 negative cops below 45 years of age during PM’s visit in Ayodhya.
Moreover, a special team of health and sanitary officials also reached Ayodhya on Saturday to ensure the arrangement for the ceremony in compliance with COVID-19 protocol. Notably, a priest and 16 cops deployed on Ram Janmabhoomi premises were found positive for the deadly coronavirus on Thursday.
As per the highly-placed sources, the SPG was set to throw a thick blanket of security in the entire temple town restricting the movement of people in the wake of the VVIP visit. All the senior-most officials of UP police and administration including the DGP and Chief Secretary were in Ayodhya to review the security and other arrangements.
As per the decision taken at the highest level, only COVID-19 negative police personnel below 45 years of age will be deployed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other VVIPs visit to Ayodhya.
According to UP DGP Hitesh Chandra Awasthi, the decision was made in a meeting held to review the security arrangements in Ayodhya. As per the DGP, the inner-most security ring will be handled by SPG. However, the police personnel, who have tested negative for the infection as well as those kept in reserve in complete isolation would preferably be deployed closer to the inner security ring of the PM.
The DGP claimed that the process of testing cops at police stations and reserve police lines had been going on for the past few weeks.
As per the sources, over 4,000 police personnel across Ayodhya district would be deployed for security and management of people's movement. Over 300 police personnel, who were younger and had tested negative for COVID-19 infection, were handpicked for VVIP security.
Around 10 companies of the provincial armed constabulary (PAC) and the Central armed police force (CAPF) will also be deployed. The security arrangements will include sealing the district borders and curbing traffic movement. Over 75 barriers will be installed inside the town area.
The entire ‘Panch Kosi’ parikrama area (the five-kilometre radius of the Ram Janmabhoomi) will be sealed. Total restrictions will be enforced on roads entering Ayodhya town.
According to UP DGP, the security was also tightened in the nine districts adjoining Ayodhya. Special alert has been sounded in adjoining Basti division which shares its border with Ayodhya and Nepal. IG Anil Kumar reviewed all the arrangements and issued an appeal to the people of Basti not to go to Ayodhya on August 5. Vigilance on border areas and across the waterways was increased to the highest level.
The boundaries of Ayodhya would be completely sealed from August 4, said the senior police officials.
Besides the team of health officials, over half a dozen special sanitization teams from Lucknow have already reached Ayodhya to start sanitization of the Ram Janmabhoomi premises on a daily basis till August 5.