Elaborate security arrangements have been made in Kolkata ahead of the Ram Temple consecration ceremony in Ayodhya on Monday with the city set to witness dozens of processions by Hindu outfits to mark the day. An all-faith rally, led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, will also be held in Kolkata on Monday.
Kolkata Police has deployed 3,500 police personnel, including Assistant Commissioner-ranked officers, in the city with additional forces being put on standby in each division under its jurisdiction, sources said.
“Everything will be fine. There will be no problem. Elaborate arrangements have been made,” Kolkata Police Commissioner Vineet Goyal said on Sunday on the sidelines of a marathon, organised by the city police.
West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose on Sunday also appealed to the people of the state to ensure that the consecration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya becomes a joyous and harmonious occasion, characterised by peace and unity. In an official communication from the Raj Bhavan, Bose said, “On 22nd January 2024, the nation will stand witness to signature events that are intricately linked to its ethos. Seminal events shall also take place in West Bengal. On this special day when we redefine the essence of our nationhood through strong linkages to its great heritage and culture, let us resolve once again to share the glory and greatness of our Motherland.”
“I appeal to my brothers and sisters of Bengal to make the occasion one of sweetness and light through peace and harmony. Friends, I urge upon everyone to be tolerant and do not fall prey to disinformation. The law is on your side. It is time people rise in unison to promote social integration,” the Governor added.
Additional forces will be deployed in Park Circus, Kalighat, and a few other areas, a senior officer said. Security has been beefed up in other parts of West Bengal too. Chandannagar, Howrah, Barasat districts will see additional deployment of police and so will Barrackpore and Basirhat in North 24 Parganas district, Baruipur and Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas district, Chandannagar in Hooghly, Krishnanagar and Ranaghat in Nadia, Murshidabad, Jangipur, Islampur, Raiganj, Malda and Siliguri.
“All these areas have been identified as sensitive based on information from sources, intelligence information and past incidents,” said a police officer. On Friday, state Director General of Police Rajeev Kumar held a meeting with senior police officers of the state to review the security preparations, sources said. Directives were issued to deploy additional forces in sensitive areas and alert every police station to keep monitoring the situation and ensure timely prevention of any untoward incident.
“No procession will be allowed on Monday without the permission of the police… Strict action must be taken against anyone who tries to take the law and order situation in their hand,” said a senior police officer.
Hindu Jagran Manch, BJP and several other outfits have planned to take out processions and shobha yatras across the state to mark the opening of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
The proposed processions will pass through Bhowanipore, Camac Street, Sealdah, Garfa, Patuli, Sakuntala Park, and the port areas in Kolkata.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will also hold a solidarity march. Sadhus along with leaders of all faiths are likely to join the chief minister during her Sampriti rally, which will start around 3 pm from Hazra Crossing and pass through Hazra Road and Syed Amir Ali Avenue to reach Park Circus Maidan.
Most of the private schools located along the rally routes in the city have either suspended classes or arranged for virtual classes to ensure that students and teachers don’t face any difficulty in their commute.