Govt deploys security, social media monitors ahead of temple verdict

New Delhi: Authorities have deployed thousands of additional security forces and roped in about 16,000 “digital volunteers” to sanitise social media of inflammatory posts ahead of a crucial Supreme Court verdict on a disputed religious site.
Hindus and Muslims have for decades been bitterly divided over the 16th-century Babri mosque in Ayodhya, a city in the northern Uttar Pradesh state that Hindus believe is the birthplace of Lord Ram.
Tensions boiled over in 1992 when the mosque was destroyed, sparking religious violence that killed 2,000 people.
India’s top court is expected to hand down its ruling on competing claims to the site’s ownership before Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi retires on November 17.
“Thousands of (additional) security personnel from different agencies have been deployed in and around Ayodhya. Additional vehicles, CCTV cameras, body cameras and drones too have been brought in,” Ayodhya police senior superintendent Ashish Tiwari said on Wednesday.
“The police is also making other efforts to ensure that things remain calm. We have enlisted around 16,000 digital volunteers from 1,600 villages in the region to help monitor and flag sensitive content on the social media.”
The monitors will report what they deem is inappropriate content to police, who could then try to track down the posters and demand that they delete their posts or messages.
Ayodhya — considered one of the holiest Hindu sites — is visited by religious pilgrims from all over India throughout the year. — AFP