Tens of thousands of security personnel were posted across India ahead of the Ayodhya verdict Thursday afternoon. From Kashmir to Kerala, many states were on ‘extra vigil’ fearing trouble in the aftermath of the judgement.
‘We are monitoring the situation minute-by-minute,’ an official in the home ministry . ‘So far satisfactory. We hope the situation will remain peaceful after the judgment too.’
A three-member bench of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court will deliver the much-awaited verdict in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suits, contested by Hindu and Muslim groups, at 3.30 p.m. Thursday.
The official said Uttar Pradesh will be the focus of security action Thursday.
Tight measures are in force in Ayodhya, the location of the dispute, and in Lucknow, where the court verdict is delivered. Unprecedented security measures are in place inside and outside the court.
Delhi is under a security blanket too, for the Commonwealth Games beginning Sunday as well as Thursday’s verdict. A large number of police and paramilitary forces have taken up position on the roads, markets and public places.
The temple towns of Varanasi and Mathura, communally-sensitive centres like Meerut, Aligarh, Moradabad, Rampur, Bareilly, Kanpur, Allahabad, Azamgarh, Gorakhpur and other places in Uttar Pradesh have been placed under tight security, police sources said.
In all, 190,000 police and security personnel will be deployed in Uttar Pradesh. Of these, 20,000 will be central forces including the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Rapid Action Force (RAF).
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka and Kerala are some of the states for which New Delhi has instructed ‘extra vigil’ as it believes the judgment can evoke sharp reactions there.
A special alert has been sounded for cities with a history of communal flare-up. They include Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Bhiwandi, Bhopal, Jammu, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Coimbatore and Kozhikode, officials said.
In an appeal publicised through media, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said: ‘It is necessary for all sections of the people of India to maintain equanimity and tranquillity in the aftermath of the judgment.
‘There should be no attempt whatsoever made by any section of the people to provoke any other section or to indulge in any expression of emotion that would hurt the feelings of other people,’ he said.
The six-decade-old title suit is regarding the site in Ayodhya which Hindu groups claim is the birthplace of Lord Ram. Radical Hindu activists razed the Babri Masjid there Dec 6, 1992, triggering widespread communal riots in which 2,000 people were killed across India.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Wednesday the government had ‘taken adequate security measures and deployed adequate security personnel to assist the state governments to maintain peace’