Uttar Pradesh ups security for Valentine’s Day

Lucknow, Feb 13 (IANS) Heavy security deployments have been planned in all major cities of Uttar Pradesh on the Valentine’s Day Thursday in view of the past history of vandalism by some extremist groups.

The state police headquarters has issued instructions to all senior superintendents of police to ensure strict maintenance of law and order on the day.

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They have also been told to make it loud and clear to their subordinates not to harass simple citizens and couples merry-making on the occasion.

“We have seen how some cops committed excesses on adults simply moving around or sitting in parks in a city on the last Valentine’s Day. We have, therefore, made it absolutely clear to all and sundry that such undue harassment will not be tolerated,” a top police official told IANS.

In the state capital here, the police were making what they called “fool proof” arrangements to prevent harassment of ordinary citizens in any manner. Similar arrangements have also been made in Kanpur where Shiv Sena and other extremist Hindu outfits in particular were known to have in the preceding years assaulted young boys and girls moving around together on the day.

“We have formed special teams to keep a watch in and around all popular public places – parks, cinema houses, malls and restaurants – to prevent any untoward incident,” Senior Superintendent of Police Akhil Kumar told IANS.

The Lucknow zoo that draws huge crowds, including a lot of young couples, on the occasion has sought special police assistance to insure an incident-free Valentine’s Day.

“We have requested the district police to provide us both men and women constables to patrol the zoo throughout the day tomorrow (Thursday),” said Director Renu Singh.

“The idea is to only prevent hooliganism. We are not interested in enforcing any kind of moral policing so as to prevent simple grown-ups from spending sometime together,” she said.

Singh has also directed her staff to remain on the move to keep an eye on mischief mongers. “I will also personally take rounds of the zoo campus throughout the day,” she added.