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Supreme Court to deliver verdict in 70-year-old Ayodhya land dispute case today, security tightened

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court is all set to pronounce its verdict in 70-year-old Ayodhya’s Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case on Saturday. A five-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, along with other justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer will pronounce the judgment at around 10:30 am on Saturday.

As the nation awaits the historic verdict, schools, colleges and other educational institutes will remain closed in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka and Delhi as a precautionary measure as the Supreme Court will deliver its verdict on Saturday. Further, the Uttar Pradesh government has declared holidays for all schools and colleges in the state starting from November 9 to 11 in view of safety concerns.

Section 144, which prohibits a gathering of more than four people, has been imposed across the states of Goa, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The prohibitory orders will also be in effect in Madhya Pradesh’s capital Bhopal and Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru. As a precautionary measure, Jammu and Kashmir administration has also postponed examinations and declared Saturday as dry day that means no sale of liquor will take place.

In Hyderabad Anjani Kumar, Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad City said special deployment has been done in the sensitive areas in the city. “We have taken all necessary measures to keep the situation under control in Hyderabad and to maintain peace and law and order. Special deployment has been done in the sensitive areas in the city,” Kumar said.

In view of the Ayodhya verdict which will be pronounced on Saturday, the Uttar Pradesh administration has prepared a foolproof security plan for the temple town to avoid any untoward situation. The holy town will have a total of 153 companies of security forces, comprising of central police forces, Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), Rapid Action Force (RAF) and Uttar Pradesh Police will be deployed in Ayodhya.

Among other key measures being taken include deployment of UP ATS commandos as well as sleuths of intelligence agencies in Ayodhya, besides monitoring through drones. People staying in Ayodhya’s different dharamshalas and guest houses are also being scanned, and the police have appealed to people coming to the town to keep their identity cards with them at all times and cooperate during the security check.

A notice regarding the pronouncement of judgment by a Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, was uploaded on the official website of the Supreme Court late Friday evening. The bench on October 16 had reserved the judgment after the marathon hearings over 40 days.

During the course of the hearing, the apex court heard a batch of petitions challenging September 30, 2010, Allahabad High Court judgment trifurcating the 2.77 acres of the disputed land at Ayodhya into three equal parts among Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board, and Nirmohi Akhara.

Earlier on Friday, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi met Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari and Director General of Police Om Prakash Singh to take of the situation on ground ahead of Supreme Court’s verdict. CJI Gogoi, along with the officials, reviewed security arrangements in Ayodhya and asked if the state needs direction, the additional help of any kind from the Centre, other states or from the Supreme Court.

Appealing to the nation that the decision will not be a victory or defeat of anyone, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday took to Twitter and said, “Whatever decision SC delivers in #Ayodhya case, it’ll not be a victory or defeat of anyone. My appeal to the countrymen is that it should be the priority of all of us that this decision should further strengthen the great tradition of peace, unity & goodwill of India.”