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Ayodhya verdict: Home Minister Amit Shah calls high-level meeting; NSA, IB chief to attend

According to Zee Media sources, the meeting will be attended by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, Intelligence Bureau (IB) Chief Arvind Kumar and other senior officials of the Home Ministry.

Ayodhya verdict: Home Minister Amit Shah calls high-level meeting; NSA, IB chief to attend

NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah has called a high-level meeting to review the situation ahead of the Supreme Court verdict in the politically-sensitive and several decades-old Ayodhya Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case on Saturday.

According to Zee Media sources, the meeting will be attended by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, Intelligence Bureau (IB) Chief Arvind Kumar and other senior officials of the Home Ministry.

Shah, who is also BJP president, has also convened an urgent meeting of party office bearers and top NDA government ministers on the issue.

Shah is expected to hold the second meeting at the BJP headquarters. He may also hold a press conference later in the day to spell out the party strategy. However, no final decision has been taken on that.

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Meanwhile, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is also slated to reach the national capital to keep a close watch on the unfolding situation.

It may be recalled that the landmark verdict will be delivered around 10:30 am. 

Ahead of the crucial verdict, political leaders cutting across the party lines have appealed for peace and calm. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also called for calm and said that the top court judgment “will not be anyone’s loss or victory”.

The top court will deliver its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging September 30, 2010, Allahabad High Court order, which trifurcated the 2.77 acres disputed land between the Nirmohi Akhara, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, and Ramlalla Virajman.

The case was heard by a five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, and S Abdul Nazeer for a marathon 40 days on a day-to-day basis and reserved its order on October 16.

Hearing in the case commenced on August 6 after the court-appointed mediation panel, comprising of spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Justice (retired) FMI Kalifullah and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu failed to arrive at an out-of-court settlement in the case. The 40-day long proceedings turned out to be the second-longest hearing in the history of the Supreme Court, after the historic Kesavananda Bharati case which went on for 68 days.

On Friday, Justice Gogoi held an hour-long meeting with UP Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari and Director General of Police Om Prakash Singh who apprised him about the security arrangements made to maintain law and order in the state.

Meanwhile, multi-layered security arrangements have been put in place in Ayodhya, which has been turned into a fortress with the deployment of 60 companies (90-125 personnel each) of the PAC and paramilitary forces. Drones and CCTV cameras will also be used to monitor the situation ahead of the verdict.

Section 144, which prohibits a gathering of more than four people, has been imposed across several states, including Goa, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, ahead of the SC verdict.

Further, all schools and colleges and other educational institutions will remain closed in states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Delhi etc as a precautionary measure ahead of the Supreme Court verdict in the case. 

The Uttar Pradesh government has also declared holidays for all schools and colleges in the state starting from November 9 to 11 amid safety concerns.