Ayodhya: A sigh of relief was palpable in heavily-fortified Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, Saturday after the Supreme Court paved the way for construction of a Ram Mandir at the disputed site in a unanimous verdict.
Hindus were understandably happy with the judgment, but barring a handful, most resisted from open celebrations, lest it hurt the Muslims. The minority community seemed to be in a sombre mood, but said it would abide by the Supreme Court order.
Some Hindus burst crackers to celebrate, but the police cracked down on them immediately. The police also stopped a group of about five youngsters who were riding a motorcycle down the road shouting “Jai Shri Ram”.
‘We don’t wish to offend anyone’
Residents themselves are intent on making sure there are no mass celebrations on the streets.
Ayodhya resident Vinod Kumar Sahu expressed happiness at the verdict, but insisted that law and order was of paramount concern.
“We are extremely happy with the verdict but will not celebrate with much fanfare, keeping in mind the sensitivity of the situation. We don’t wish to offend anyone. Maintaining law and order is supreme,” Sahu said.
Another resident said, “It is a matter of great joy. We don’t even need to eat today because the verdict has filled our stomachs.”
‘Accept the verdict’
A majority of Muslims ThePrint spoke to said they accepted the verdict, including Mohammad Iqbal Ansari, one of the litigants in the case.
“It is the right verdict. We earlier said that we will respect the Supreme Court verdict. What the court did is fine and we will accept it,” Ansari told the media gathered outside his house.
The city of Ayodhya has been heavily fortified with a large number of UP policemen, CRPF and Rapid Action Force personnel.
Barricades have been set up in number of places within Ayodhya and on all roads leading to the city.
Police vehicles are making regular rounds and senior officers are camping in the city.
Constant messages are being flashed on the wireless sets of policemen, saying that Section 144 has been imposed and they should not allow people to gather in one spot.
Policemen have been asked to stay extra cautious and alert.