Ahead of the crucial Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya dispute case, political leaders cutting across party lines have appealed for maintaining harmony. A verdict by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi-led bench of the Supreme Court in Ayodhya case is expected before November 17, when the CJI retires. Security measures have been stepped up in many districts including Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.
What PM Modi said
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked Union ministers to be measured in their statements on matters related to Ayodhya case. He told the ministers to refrain from making unnecessary remarks on the issue and help in building an atmosphere for welcoming the Supreme Court verdict irrespective of the judgment in the contentious case.
In the latest edition of his "Mann ki Baat" radio programme on October 27, PM Modi had recalled how the government, political parties and civil society prevented attempts to create fissures when the Allahabad High Court ruling on the disputed land in Ayodhya was to be delivered in 2010.He had described it as an example of how a united voice could strengthen the country.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has said the Supreme Court verdict would be welcomed by the people as they have full faith in the institution. He urged people not to fall for or ignite rumours.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was one of the members of the mediation panel appointed by the Supreme Court to resolve the Ayodhya title suit through intercommunity dialogue.
"People of our country have full faith in the Supreme Court and its verdict will be welcomed by everyone. I appeal to one and all to not entertain or ignite rumours. This is the time to exercise restraint and exhibit our values of brotherhood between communities," Ravi Shankar said in his message.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya matter must be respected at all costs.
She tweeted, "The verdict on the Ayodhya dispute can come any moment now. It is natural for people to be anxious or have expectations from the verdict. However, whatever be the decision of the Supreme Court, I appeal to everybody to respect it. Respecting the verdict is in the best interest of the country and its people."
"It is also the responsibility of the Centre and all state governments to ensure the safety of the people and not let normal life be disrupted after the verdict," she wrote in another tweet.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath asked his ministers to refrain from making any controversial statements ahead of the Supreme Court verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case on November 17.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said "some forces" may try to take advantage of the situation and create fissure among communities.
Calling it a matter of faith, Sharad Pawar said the Supreme Court verdict in Ayodhya case should be accepted by all whatever the judgment is. Communal harmony should be maintained. There are chances that some forces might take advantage of this, but it is important to be calm and accept things," he said.
At a meeting of the party's spokespersons, media and social media departments from across the country, the BJP's central leadership told them to avoid making unnecessary statements on the Ram temple issue, sources aware of the deliberations said. BJP social media head Amit Malviya also briefed social media teams of the party on how to prevent controversial statements on such platforms.
In anticipation of the Supreme Court verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has cancelled all its official functions scheduled for November. The RSS has asked its workers to cancel their touring schedules as well.
Sources in the RSS said that the organisation is being very cautious with regards to the Ayodhya case. They said, "After the verdict, in case something happens, then the blame should not be pinned on them.
Among the cancelled official functions is a meeting of the top brass of the RSS in Haridwar that was scheduled between October 31 and November 4.
UP Police is preparing itself for the security challenge if it comes to that stage following the Supreme Court verdict in Ayodhya case. Police vehicles are being repaired. The armoury is being inspected to ensure that there are no last-minute glitches and even the public address system is being tested.
"It is important for us that vehicles and the public address system are in perfect order in places that are communally sensitive. This would not just help in countering rumours and also help in crowd control. Rumours and uncontrolled mobs can play havoc in a situation, where mass sentiment is involved," said a senior police officer.
Directives have been issued by the police headquarters to police chiefs in 34 communally sensitive districts including Meerut, Agra, Aligarh, Rampur, Bareilly, Ferozabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Saharanpur, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr and Azamgarh.
Section 144 imposed in Ayodhya
Section 144 has been imposed in Ayodhya till December 28. Those violating the order will be booked under section 188 of the IPC (disobedience of an order promulgated by public servant).
The Ayodhya district magistrate has issued directives prohibiting people from making defamatory remarks against any religion, community, deities, eminent personalities on social media platforms. People have also been barred from holding any event regarding the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.
The administration has also banned any media debates in the city and has imposed restrictions on people gathering in the region.
Restrictions in Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal is also on high alert. Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) has been imposed in the city. Tight security arrangements are being made at sensitive places in Bhopal to prevent any untoward incident in the view of Ayodhya verdict. Section 144 will remain in force for the next two months in Bhopal.
Eyes on social media
Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh has said that the police would not hesitate to book offenders on social media platforms under the National Security Act (NSA) if they caused a law and order situation in the view the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya.
"We are absolutely ready. Under no circumstances, will anybody be allowed to take law in their hands. Our Intelligence machinery is geared up. If needed, the National Security Act will be imposed on elements who attempt to disrupt law and order," the DGP said.
He further said the social media platforms are being closely monitored by a team of officials and any objectionable or inflammatory post would invite action.
Faizabad police have deployed 16,000 volunteers to keep an eye against objectionable content on social media. Volunteers have been roped sensitive localities in the district to maintain calm, Senior Superintendent of Police Ashish Tiwari said.
On Saturday, District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha had issued orders against the use of social media to "insult" deities or to install idols and hold processions related to Ram Janmabhoomi.
In the closed-door meeting convened by Navaid Hamid, president of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, the participants resolved to maintain peace and harmony at all costs after the verdict in the Ayodhya case.