The Gujarat Police had prepared the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) adopted during the 2022 Rath Yatra in the State. This SOP highlights the best practices adopted by the State Police in handling the major sociopolitical challenges during this year. Now, the Gujarat Police will send this SOP for the training purpose of young officers at the National Police Academy, Hyderabad.
City Police Commissioner Sanjay Srivastav told VO!, “this year’s Rath Yathra was different with various challenges. Hence, a new SOP was adopted to ease the situation. We are sharing this SOP with the young Police Trainees at Police Academy, which will be really helpful to them”.
The State Police needed to ensure Hindu-Muslim unity during this Rath Yatra. The previous incidents of stone pelting during Ram Navami, the controversial statement of Nupur Sharma, then the murder related to it in Udaipur and the communal rumours were the major threats in this Rath Yatra. However, the police took the matter lightly and did community policing by going door to door at people’s houses.
Srivastava said that since most of the Rath Yatra route is in the area of Joint CP Rajendra Asari of Sector-1, he has done community policing with the help of women IPS officers by reaching children and women. Also, the Anti-Terrorist Squad and a paramilitary force were well equipped with anti-riot training and arms. Drones were constantly patrolling.
Then helicopters were used and patrolled during the Rath Yatra, along with effective micro-planning done through social monitoring with technical support from the police department.
The biggest challenge was Nupur Sharma’s controversial comment. Later, the murder related to it in Udaipur. Thus, both incidents became a headache for the police and were constantly on high-alert due to the threat information shared by Intelligence Bureau (IB). In such a situation, the Police made necessary preparations to smoothen the Rath Yathra.
Police also organised Ekta Cricket and 72 meetings at Sector-1, which is identified as a sensitive zone considering previous incidents of riots. JCP Rajendra Asari of Sector-1 was constantly active in communicating among the people and organized various sports tournaments. They organized a unity cricket tournament, especially in Saraspur to maintain Hindu-Muslim unity.
The people witnessed the Mahant of Jagannath Temple batting and the Maulvi of the Mosque bowling during the tournament. Also, the timing of was namaz changed in Shahpur Masjid.