90 Arrested and Action Taken Against Thousands of Social Media Posts a Day After Ayodhya Verdict

Action has been taken against 8,275 posts on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

New Delhi/Ayodhya: Nearly 90 people have been arrested and action taken against over 8,000 social media posts as authorities maintained a tight vigil in the temple town and elsewhere in the country in the wake of the Ayodhya verdict, while Hindu and Muslim religious leaders exhorted people to maintain communal harmony after a meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Sunday.

There has been no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the country, officials said, adding home minister Amit Shah has telephoned several chief ministers over the last two days to ensure peace in run up to and after the Supreme Court judgement in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case.

Security of the five judges, including Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who delivered the verdict on Saturday has been enhanced with the deployment of additional troops, barricades and mobile escort teams, officials said.

Since Saturday, the Uttar Pradesh police has arrested 77 people, including 40 on Sunday, for allegedly trying to vitiate the atmosphere through social media posts, according to a police statement. Action has been taken against 8,275 posts including 4,563 posts on Sunday, it said, adding these had been posted on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

In Madhya Pradesh, eight people were arrested in Seoni and two in Gwalior for posting objectionable messages on social media and bursting crackers after the Supreme Court verdict, police said. Gwalior jail warden Mahesh Awad was suspended for bursting crackers in Chhaoni area despite a ban on such post-verdict activities by district authorities.

In Ayodhya, devotees flocked to various temples to offer prayers amid tight security arrangements, especially around the disputed site, though some local Muslim leaders claimed that the traditional processions taken out on Prophet Muhammad’s birth anniversary Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi were cancelled on Sunday as a “precaution” and also due to “sadness” over the verdict.

However, authorities asserted that the processions were taken out, though they might have been scaled down.

The government continued to engage religious and spiritual leaders over the Ayodhya issue as Doval held a meeting with eminent Hindu and Muslim religious leaders who pledged unstinting support to the government in all steps to maintain peace and order, according to officials.

National security advisor Ajit Doval. Credit: Reuters/Ng Han Guan/Pool

The meeting was scheduled before the announcement of the verdict date, according to some leaders who participated.

“The leaders resolved to honour the decision of the Supreme Court and appealed to all countrymen to abide by it, emphasising that the national interest overrides all other considerations.

“They extended their full cooperation to the government in ensuring peace, communal harmony and upholding the rule of law,” according to a joint statement issued after the four-hour meeting at Doval’s residence in Delhi.

Those attending the meeting were alive to the fact that certain anti-national and hostile elements, both within and outside the country, may attempt to exploit the situation to harm our national interest, it said.

Shia cleric Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawad said it is remarkable that the countrymen have ensured peace and tranquillity after the verdict.

“Not a single disturbance was reported from anywhere. We discussed ways to formalise this arrangement so that dialogue can continue between the two communities and differences can be sorted through discussions,” he said.

“We support such initiatives. Time has come that Hindu-Muslim issues should end and everyone contributes to building the country and improve education and eradicate poverty,” the head of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti shrine, Syed Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, said.

Yoga guru Ramdev said, “Even if there are some questions we will honour the verdict of the Supreme Court to uphold the unity and integrity of the country. This was the most important resolve taken in the meeting.”

“The interaction helped to strengthen communication between top religious leaders to maintain a spirit of amity and brotherhood amongst all communities,” the statement said, adding all the participants reposed full faith in the rule of law and the Constitution.

However, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi again questioned the judgement, saying “if Babri Masjid was illegal why were L.K. Advani and others being tried in connection with its demolition”.

Addressing a public meeting here on Saturday night, the AIMIM president said, “If Babri Masjid was legal then why was it (land) handed over to those who demolished it. If it was illegal then why the case is going on? Withdraw the case against Advani. And if it is legal then give it to me.”

“It’s a basic question… We are not satisfied with this judgement. Babri Masjid is my legal right. I am fighting for the Masjid and not the land,” the Hyderabad MP said.

Soon after the verdict, the leader had criticised it as a victory of faith over facts.

Meanwhile, the Sunni Central Waqf Board again reiterated that it will not file a review petition.

At the same time, it said that a decision on whether to accept a 5-acre land for building a mosque in Ayodhya will be taken at its meeting likely on November 26.

UP Sunni Central Waqf Board Chairman, Zufar Farooqui told PTI that he was getting diverse views on whether to take the land.

“Board’s general body meeting is expected on November 26 in which it will be decided whether to take 5-acre land as directed by the Supreme Court or not,” he said.

Officials said enhanced security has been put in place for the judges – CJI Gogoi, CJI-designate S.A. Bobde and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S.A. Nazeer – who delivered the verdict in the century-old dispute.

A group photo of the five-judge bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi (C) flanked by (L-R) Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, Justice S Abdul Nazeer after they delivered the verdict on Ayodhya land case. Photo: PTI

“Security of the honourable judges has been enhanced as a precautionary measure. However, there has been no specific threat to anyone of the judges,” a senior official said.

Authorities on Sunday sealed all roads leading to the Hazratbal Shrine in Srinagar in Kashmir as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in view of the Supreme Court ruling in the Ayodhya case and Eid-Milad-un-Nabi.

Settling a fractious issue that goes back more than a century, the Supreme Court in its historic verdict on Saturday backed the construction of a Ram temple by a government trust at the disputed site in Ayodhya, and ruled that an alternative five-acre plot must be found for a mosque in the Hindu holy town.