As the nation braced for the Supreme Court ruling Saturday on the disputed Ayodhya site, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for calm, underlining that the judgment “will not be anyone’s loss or victory”.
In Twitter posts Friday night, the Prime Minister said: “The Supreme Court will rule on Ayodhya tomorrow. In the last few months, there was continuous hearing on this issue and the whole country was following it with curiosity. While the hearing was on, all sections of the society made efforts to maintain a harmonious atmosphere which is highly appreciated.”
“According the highest respect to the judiciary, various sections of society, social and cultural organisations and all parties have put in efforts in the last few days to maintain amity and positive atmosphere. This is very welcome. We have to maintain amity even after the verdict is delivered.”
“Whatever be the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya, it will not be anyone’s loss or victory. My appeal to countrymen is that it should be our priority that the verdict strengthens India’s great tradition of peace, unity and amity,” he said.
As Modi called for calm, states went on alert across the country. The Uttar Pradesh government said all schools, colleges, educational institutions and training centres will remain shut from November 9 to November 11. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said: “It is the responsibility of everyone to maintain an atmosphere of peace and harmony in the state at any cost. Do not pay attention to rumours… If anyone tries to break the law, strict action will be taken against them.”
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot appealed for peace and reviewed security arrangements through a video-conference with Divisional Commissioners, Police Commissioners, Inspector Generals, District Collectors and Superintendents of Police. “It is the duty of District Collectors and SPs to be on guard against any incident which might vitiate the law and order,” he said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged everyone to exercise self-restraint whatever the verdict. He recalled that even during the demolition of the Babri Masjid, Kerala had reacted in an “exemplary manner”. People, he said, should accept the verdict peacefully.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, in a statement, said: “I urge the people of Chhattisgarh to maintain peace and harmony. On this issue, believe only official sources and don’t fall prey to rumours and fake news on social media.”
In Gujarat, senior police officers have been asked to ensure high vigil and “bandobast”, especially in sensitive areas in cities such as Ahmedabad, Baroda, Rajkot and Surat. Activity on social media, police sources said, will also be monitored.
Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh too went on alert. A senior Punjab police officer said anti-riot police (ART) teams were being deployed, especially in Malerkotla, Jalandhar and Ludhiana.
In Himachal Pradesh, Director General of Police Sita Ram Mardi said: “We have issued guidelines to Superintendents of Police. We will take need-based measures.”
Haryana ADGP (Law and Order) Navdeep Singh Virk told The Indian Express: “Necessary instructions have already been issued and additional armed police forces have been allotted to some districts. Sensitive districts, areas, pockets have been identified and peace committees formed. Area domination will be done by district or armed police forces as per ground situation. Maximum police force have been mobilised for duty. Law and order shall be maintained across the state”.