Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce the verdict in the 20-year-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case on Saturday, November 9. A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, is expected to deliver its verdict on a dispute over the ownership of 2.77-acre of land in at 10.30 am on Saturday. The apex court had reserved judgment in the case on October 16 after concluding a marathon hearing that lasted 40 days.
Here are the five main developments that have taken place in the week leading up to the verdict:
Security stepped up in Uttar Pradesh
The security apparatus in Ayodhya as well as the rest of the state was strengthened in view of a verdict and the state police departments assured of presence of over 50,000 police personnel on the day when the Supreme Court would announce the much-awaited judgment. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC, which prohibits the assembly of more than 4 persons, have been imposed in Ayodhya district till December 10.
Anti-terror squads, special police and paramilitary personnel, including Rapid Action Force (RAF) and drones, would be deployed in Ayodhya to monitor the crowd in real time.
The Centre has also given order to deploy 40 companies -- around 4,000 personnel -- of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) or paramilitary force in Ayodhya that includes 16 companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), around six companies each of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security (CISF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and RAF. A total of 13 CRPF companies have already been sent to Ayodhya and others would be sent in two-three days, a Home Ministry source told IANS.
All schools, colleges, educational institutions and training centres to remain closed from 9th November to 11th November in Uttar Pradesh.
Flag marches, foot patrollings, 24x7 control rooms
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed all senior officers to stay alert and spend the fortnight before the verdict maintaining a vigil in sensitive districts. He instructed them to review and ensure the security of religious sites, to ensure that flag march and foot patrolling are carried out in a routine manner. The Chief Minister also ordered setting up of a control room that would function 24X7 in each district and for stepping up security on commercial establishments, airports, bus and railway stations. He also ordered for a helicopter to be kept on standby in Ayodhya and Lucknow. CM Yogi also directed shifting of homeless people to night shelters and securing of footpaths, roads, platforms and crossings.
MHA issues advisory to states
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs also sent an advisory to all states to remain alert. A senior MHA official requesting anonymity said that a general advisory has been sent to all states and Union Territories asking them to stay alert and deploy adequate security personnel in all sensitive places and ensure that no untoward incident takes place anywhere in the country. The MHA has also on Wednesday cautioned the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government to ensure all security preparedness in the temple town, which would be turned into a virtual fortress to thwart any untoward incident.
PM Modi asks his ministers to exercise restraint
Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on the need for maintaining peace and harmony in the country and asked his ministerial colleagues to avoid any controversial comments on it. PM Modi, while chairing a meeting of his Council of Ministers, took stock of the situation prevailing in the country. Everyone, including the government, has a responsibility to maintain peace and harmony while avoiding provocation, he said. Earlier, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi met Hindu and Muslim leaders and who all agreed that peace would be maintained.
CJI Gogoi meets UP Chief Secy, DGP
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Thursday scheduled a meeting with Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari, Director General of Police Om Prakash Singh and other senior police officials over preparedness ahead of probable Ayodhya verdict. According to sources, three judges from the five-member Ayodhya bench - Chief Justice Gogoi, Chief Justice-designate S A Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan attended the meeting with the Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari and the DGP. Sources said the judges asked the state officials if they needed any assistance in the form of an order to strengthen the law and order situation.