As the mystery surrounding Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s health deepens, the police are going by the adage ‘better safe than sorry’. The police are deploying armed forces in the city, especially near Matoshree in Bandra (East), in a bid to make sure that there isn’t any law and order problem.
After the chaos on Wednesday night, Matoshree premises looked calmer all through Thursday. The police looked better prepared too.
Besides the city police, 2,000 policemen from outside the city along with the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) have been deployed. While Shiv Sena cadres turned up in huge numbers, they were not permitted to cross the barricades, where they spent the entire day. Media persons, too, were given an exclusive corner without hampering the movement of those coming in to visit Thackeray.
"There are over 700 policemen deployed at Matoshree alone," said DCP Namdev Chavan. Apart from the police, four companies of RAF were seen guarding Matoshree, while the SRPF was seen spread from there to Kurla and Kalina.
Around 10,000 policemen from the city have been stationed in Bandra (East) near Matoshree and ordered to stay put until further notice. Leaves of all policemen from stations in the western suburbs and those of officers and constabulary from crime branch units across the city have been cancelled and the staff has been asked to maintain 100% attendance.
The Mumbai police have been deployed in many sensitive areas which are likely to be affected. The police have requested citizens to remain calm and maintain peace. Besides the city, the entire state is on alert. State home department has directed deployment of adequate police force all over. "The police have been directed to take precautions and deploy force in all the districts. Companies of reserve forces have been deployed too," said Satej Patil, minister of state for home.
The additional force has been deployed in districts which are Shiv Sena strongholds. Thane, Aurangabad and Konkan districts have been identified as those which need increased security.
But some force couldn’t be deployed due to the tense situation concerning sugarcane farmers’ agitation in Western Maharashtra.