Mumbai braces for Ayodhya verdict

The Maharashtra government went into high security mode Thursday to ensure peace and calm ahead of the verdict on the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi title suit.

Mumbai: Asking ministers to monitor the situation in their area and stepping up vigil around sensitive places, the Maharashtra government went into high security mode Thursday to ensure peace and calm ahead of the verdict on the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi title suit.

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan asked most of his ministers to station themselves in their districts and monitor the law and order situation.

While the chief minister has decided to remain in Mumbai for the next few days and personally monitor the situation in the western metropolis, other ministers will be spread out across the state to keep a tab on developments in the wake of the court verdict.

Police in the state, weary after the 12 days of Ganapati festival, have now been deployed for the fallout of the Ayodhya case judgment Friday to be delivered by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court.

Security has been stepped up, and closed circuit television cameras, road blocks and barricades have been set up outside the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters in Nagpur.

Similarly, adequate security has been mounted outside important places of worship in Mumbai and suburbs of the city.

Police will remain on high alert in some sensitive cities and towns of the state like Aurangabad, Nashik, Malegaon, Bhiwandi, besides sensitive pockets in Mumbai and other cities.

Political activists like Lok Sabha Member from Mumbai North Sanjay Nirupam also are doing their bit to check the situation from going out of hand tomorrow.

"I have organised a meeting of legislators of all parties in my constituency, plus representatives of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, the Muslim community and other prominent citizens this evening to discuss ways and means of maintaining peace tomorrow," Nirupam told reporters.

Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray Tuesday assured the people that his party activists would maintain peace and calm Friday in the wake of the Ayodhya judgment.

Thackeray`s assurance came in the wake of a similar appeal by the government urging all political parties to exercise restraint in the wake of the judgment.

He told mediapersons that while his men would be under control, it was up to the state government now to rise to the occasion and ensure peace and safety for the citizens in the state.
Last Friday, Muslim intellectuals and religious scholars called upon the community members to maintain peace and communal harmony whatever the judgment.

The Federation of Minorities NGOs also appealed to the Muslims not to get emotionally swayed by the court ruling and maintain peace and calm at all costs.

"The judgment may favour one community or disfavour another community. In such a case, both communities have the option to appeal. The road does not end here," said Maulana Zaheer Abaas Rizvi, general secretary of the All India Shia Personal Law Board.
"My request to both communities is simple - please do not celebrate if the judgment is in your favour, or protest if it goes against you," Maulana Mehmood Daryabadi, general secretary of All India Ulema Council, added.

Mumbai witnessed the worst ever communal riots in its history between December 1992 and January 1993 in the wake of the demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya Dec 6, 1992.

The bitter riots were followed by the March 12, 1993, Mumbai serial bombings at 13 locations, including the Air India Building, Bombay Stock Exchange, the Regional Passport Office and other sites.