The countdown for the Supreme Court verdict on a dispute over the ownership of 2.77-acre of land in Ayodhya has begun. After hearing the Ayodhya matter on a day-to-day basis for 40 days, a five-judge Supreme Court bench had reserved its verdict on October 16.
The SC is expected to deliver Ayodhya verdict before November 17, when Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi retires.
During the hearing, the Hindu parties had argued before the court that the entire 2.77-acre land is the birthplace of Lord Ram. However, the Muslim parties had claimed the title over the land, saying Muslims had its ownership since 1528 when the Babri masjid was constructed.
Earlier today, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) asked all states to remain alert ahead of the verdict on Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case.
Around 4,000 paramilitary personnel have been stationed in Uttar Pradesh, especially in the temple town, to foil any untoward incident in view of the much-awaited verdict.
While chairing a meeting of his Council of Ministers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had yesterday underlined the need for maintaining peace and harmony in the country on the Ayodhya issue. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also asked his ministers to not comment on the Ayodhya issue.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which bans forbids assembly of over four persons, have been imposed in Ayodhya district till December 10.
The Uttar Pradesh government has, meanwhile, issued stern guidelines prohibiting people from posting objectionable remarks on deities on social media platforms like WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, etc. The four-page order, which was issued by Ayodhya district magistrate on October 31, will stay in force till December 28.
The order also disallows the installation of the idol of any deity and victory procession on the day of the SC verdict. Also, there is a ban on collecting stones or bricks. Sale of acid and kerosene has also been barred.
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has, meanwhile, urged both the communities to maintain peace after the SC announces verdict in the emotive issue. "The verdict may favour any one side but there should be no celebrations which would irk the other side," Naqvi had said.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has, in the meantime, stopped stone carving work for the purpose of building Ram Temple in Ayodhya for the first time since 1990. "We have stopped the carving of stones and the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas will decide when the carving will be restarted," VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma said.
"All our proposed programmes regarding different activities of our outfits have been cancelled keeping in view the upcoming Ayodhya verdict," he added.