Ayodhya security stepped up; RSS cautious

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has directed its cadre to not respond to the Ayodhya verdict in a way that could trigger unrest. (Representative image)

Security has been heightened in Ayodhya ahead of the verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, with officials of the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Local Intelligence Unit (LIU) camping in the region, an official familiar with the matter said on Monday, requesting anonymity.

The Supreme Court completed the hearing in the decades-old case on October 16 and is expected to announce the judgment before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi retires on November 17.

Ayodhya’s additional SP, Vijay Pal Singh, said they were also monitoring social media platforms to curb any attempts to fuel communal tension. “We are monitoring social media to track those spreading hate messages. We are not encroaching on anyone’s privacy,” he said.

On October 14, Ayodhya district magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure’s (CrPC) in the region, banning assembly of four or more persons at a place at a time, till December 10.

RSS cautions cadre

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has directed its cadre to not respond to the Ayodhya verdict in a way that could trigger unrest, a functionary familiar with the matter said.

The construction of a temple at the disputed site, where the Babri Mosque stood till its demolition in 1992, has been a long-standing demand of the RSS and its affiliates. “There will be no grand celebrations or parades if the verdict is in our favour nor will there be protests if it is not. We will not stop people from celebrating at their homes or localities but there is no call for a large-scale celebration,” the functionary said on condition of anonymity.

According to the RSS member, the outfit’s members have been told that in case the verdict does not match the Sangh’s expectations, there was also the option of petitioning the government to take the legislative route to ensure the temple’s construction.

“…If the government could bring an ordinance to reverse the changes ordered by the Supreme Court in the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act [in May 2018], then it can do so in this case also,” the functionary said.

Shia Board’s Order

The Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board on Monday banned demonstrations and protests on its properties across the state in the run-up to and after the verdict in the Ayodhya title dispute case.

“The administrators, caretakers and members of the management committees of waqf properties are being directed not to use premises under their control for organizing functions or give public speeches either in favour or against the Ayodhya verdict, ” board’s chairman, Wasim Rizvi, said in a circular.