Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked his council of ministers to refrain from making any out-of-turn statements on the Ayodhya case, multiple reports said on Thursday, citing unidentified officials. He also asked them to maintain peace and harmony in India once the verdict is delivered.
The prime minister held a meeting with his council of ministers in Delhi on Wednesday where he made these remarks. He added that the verdict should not be seen as a victory or defeat. “The ministers were asked not to make any statement on the verdict,” an unidentified official told The Indian Express. “They were also told to be careful and not say anything out of turn.”
The Supreme Court is likely to deliver its verdict on the Ayodhya case before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi retires on November 17.
The Supreme Court had reserved its judgement on the cross-appeals filed by the Hindu and Muslim sides challenging the three-way partition of the disputed 2.77 acres of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land among Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board in September 2010. The top court finished its marathon 40-day hearing on October 16.
In the last edition of his “Mann Ki Baat” radio programme on October 27, Modi spoke about the Allahabad High Court ruling in the Ayodhya land dispute case. He highlighted how political parties and the civil society played a mature role in uniting people when efforts were made to create tension before the ruling.
The Bharatiya Janata Party and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, have issued similar words of caution to their cadres. On Tuesday, senior RSS and BJP leaders held a meeting with Muslim clerics and intellectuals at Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s residence in Delhi.
A prominent Muslim leader on Wednesday said the community would accept the Supreme Court’s judgment in the title suit. “We did not take to streets but chose to fight a legal battle…we are waiting for the SC verdict,” said Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind President Arshad Madani, according to Mint. “We think it will be in our favour. But we have said it a thousand times that the country, law and SC is ours. We will accept the verdict.”
The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind is a litigant in the Ayodhya dispute since 1961.
Madani added that the case would test the supremacy of law. “Every justice loving person wants the case to be adjudicated on the basis of hard facts and evidence and not on the basis of faith and belief,” he said. “We advise everyone to accept the judgement irrespective of whoever’s favour it comes in. The rule of law is supreme and should be upheld.”
The Ayodhya dispute has been going on for several decades, with both Hindu and Muslim groups claiming their right to the land. The Babri Masjid stood there before Hindutva activists demolished it in 1992.
In anticipation of the judgement, restrictive orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which bans the assembly of more than four people, were imposed in the temple town earlier this month. They will be in place till December 10. The Uttar Pradesh government, meanwhile, has cancelled the holidays of all field officers in the state’s 75 districts till November 30.
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