Elaborate security arrangements have been made across Uttar Pradesh ahead of Friday prayers and Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) has been imposed in Kanpur and Lucknow, which restricts assembly of more than four persons.
Further, the Uttar Pradesh Police has issued an alert to all district police chiefs to intensify security around mosques for Friday prayers.
This comes a week after violence erupted in Kanpur on 3 June.
Additional Director General (ADG) of Police, Law and Order, Prashant Kumar has said police deployment has been done strategically at sensitive and mixed population localities and places of worship across different districts.
The police officials are in touch with clerics and other group leaders for maintaining peace and communal harmony, he added.
The ADG said special deployment has been made in sensitive districts, including Firozabad, Shamli, Saharanpur, Moradabad, Agra, Ayodhya, Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Kanpur.
He added that the police personnel carried out a riot control drill in some districts as well, including Firozabad.
Special Measures Taken To Curb Violence
ADG Kumar said there was extra alertness in Ayodhya, taking note of the rumours of a 'Bharat Bandh' appeal on 10 June allegedly circulated on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
The ADG said 12 companies of provincial armed constabulary (PAC) are already camping in Kanpur while a few companies have been sent to sensitive districts.
In Kanpur, tight security arrangements were in place with the deployment of 12 companies of the PAC, three additional IPS officers and two companies of the Rapid Action Force.
The police have also constituted a committee to look into cases of alleged false arrests after the 3 June violence in Kanpur.
The committee headed by Joint Commissioner of Police, Anand Prakash Tiwari has three other members – DCPs Pramod Kumar, BBTGS Murthy, and ACP Mohd Akmal Khan.
In the last four days, the police arrested 54 people and were making efforts to establish the identity of at least 600 others allegedly involved in the Kanpur clashes.
A Special Investigation Team had also been formed to examine video and CCTV footages of the violence.
Kanpur Shahar Qazi, Saqib Adeeb Misbahi has appealed to the people saying, "Communal harmony and peace are paramount. If the community members have any grievances, they should come to me and I would take it up with the authorities."
The Sunni Ulema Council has also appealed to the Muslims to go home straight away after the Friday prayers and cross-check the information in case of any rumours.
"A lot of wrong information is in circulation, do not believe until you have cross-checked it," said Haji Salees, Convener of the Council.
In Lucknow, leaders of some Hindu right-wing groups were placed under house arrest as a precautionary measure.
Violence had erupted in parts of Kanpur after Friday prayers last week between members of two communities over attempts to shut shops in protest against controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammad by now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma.
According to the officials, Kanpur district magistrate Vishak G Ayyar and police commissioner Vijay Singh Meena also held a meeting with religious leaders, including Muslim clerics and Hindu priests, to take them into confidence.
The clerics and priests have been asked to persuade the members of their respective communities to maintain peace, they said.
It was decided to make deployment of police personnel on the rooftops of the high-rise buildings and all the subordinates and station heads have been asked to ensure round-the-clock patrolling and take precautionary measures to maintain law and order in their respective jurisdiction, Meena said while elaborating on the arrangements made for Friday.
He added that the route march was carried out in violence-hit areas, including Yateem Khana and Parade, where panic had gripped last week.
Meena also urged the people not to take the law into their hands by reacting to rumours on social media having the potential to incite violence. Stern action will be taken against the rumour-mongers and those who try to disturb the law and order, he said.
Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in sensitive areas, the district police chief said, adding that police are keeping a close vigil with drone cameras.