Ahead of Narendra Modi's rally in Bangalore on Sunday, the city police have launched a controversial tenant verification drive among Muslims. This is apparently being done by the Bangalore police following intelligence inputs that some miscreants have entered the city with the intention to disrupt the Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate's rally.
The city police have, however, decided to carry out this drive only in areas around the Palace Grounds where the rally is scheduled to be held. Apart from the extremely tight security measures in place, including the use of drones, the police are also checking every Muslim who has taken a house on rent in these areas.
The drive, which takes place late in the night, is being carried out in areas like R T Nagar, K G Halli, Rehmath Nagar, Mubarak Mohalla, Hebbal and Yeshwanthpur, which have a sizeable Muslim population.
The residents of these areas are not happy at this and say it is nothing but an attempt to malign and target them. A delegation of citizens even met with the inspector of JC Nagar police station and filed a complaint about their harassment.
One of the residents told Rediff.com that “this drive is utter rubbish”.
“Let them check, but there is a way of doing things. The cops enter our houses late in the night and speak very rudely. They do not care whether they are speaking to women or children. They ask us about our antecedents as though we are all terrorists. We are ready to cooperate, but let them speak with us properly is what the delegation which filed the complaint stated,” the resident said.
The residents are also asking why this drive is reserved only to tenants and Muslims.
“What if the alleged terrorist has taken shelter in a house which is not given out on rent?” asked another resident.
A senior police officer said their hands were tied as the orders have come from above.
“We need to ensure that security is tight and if there are warnings from our intelligence we need to be careful. At no cost do we want a repeat of Patna,” the officer pointed out.
When asked why the police entered a ladies hostel in the middle of the night, the officer did not have an answer.
Meanwhile, the security arrangements in Bangalore are immense. There are anti-sabotage checks being carried out at malls, lodges and also PG hostels. All entry and exit points into the city -- be it by road, air or by train -- are being scanned and checked routinely. The entry and exit points into the city are barricaded and intense checking of all vehicles is underway.
Apart from drones circling the venue where Modi would address the rally, the police have decided to carry out two rounds of checking of all visitors. Even the media will be checked and the police commissioner has requested all to cooperate in the interest of security.
Image: Narendra Modi. The BJP leader will address a rally on Sunday in Bangalore.
Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters