Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Home Minister R R Patil on Tuesday met political and religious leaders here, appealing for calm ahead of the court
verdict on Ayodhya title suits on Friday.
The meetings came against the backdrop of the Central advisory to states, particularly sensitive Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka, to give "top most
priority" in beefing up security to deal with any law and order problem that may arise after the court verdict.
After the all-party meeting, a joint statement was issued, appealing people for calm and peace on the verdict day. "Maharashtra has been at the forefront of maintaining
communal peace and harmony in times of crisis and we expect that people from all religions will cooperate with us," it said.
Earlier, speaking to media at the same venue, both Chavan and Patil said the state government was geared up to maintain the law and situation on Ayodhya issue. Chavan said he welcomed a statement by the Shiv Sena promising cooperation (to the government) on the law and order situation. However, Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, said the government should not create "unnecessary tension on
the pretext of tackling Ayodhya verdict situation". "No one can predict if something (violence) will take place or will not take place (on Ayodhya verdict issue),"
Asked if the state government had taken measures to curb spread of disinformation through SMS, he said he had written to Union Telecom Minister A Raja asking him if anything could be done on the issue.
Citing an incident during attacks against north Indian migrants in the state two years ago, Patil said a news channel had aired 271 times a video clip of a taxi being damaged. "We have called the media for on Tuesday`s meeting to make them aware of their duty along with their rights," he added. =
Chavan welcomed the News Broadcasters` Association (NBA) guidelines to broadcasters on coverage of the Ayodhya verdict. Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal cited example of an incident in communally-sensitive Malegaon town in north Maharashtra where media exercised restraint during a sensitive incident earlier this year.
Patil said police have been put on high alert and leaves of policemen have been cancelled in view of the successive events - Ganesha idol immersion tomorrow and the Ayodhya
verdict on Friday.
After demolition of the Babri mosque, Maharashtra bore the maximum brunt as far as loss of life and property was concerned, Patil claimed.