Rapid Action Force (RPF) personnel patrol on a street in Ayodhya on November 8, 2019, ahead of a Supreme Court verdict on the future of a disputed religious site.
Rapid Action Force (RPF) personnel patrol on a street in Ayodhya on November 8, 2019, ahead of a Supreme Court verdict on the future of a disputed religious site.
Photo by STR / AFP)

The Supreme Court verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit which is all set to be pronounced is being hyped beyond all proportions. The Union Home Ministry has issued an alert to all states, sensitive areas are under the strictest watch for any signs of violence and 4,000 paramilitary personnel have been deployed in Uttar Pradesh by the ministry. There is indeed a sea of policemen all over Ayodhya where it all began decades ago when the Babri Masjid was demolished by a mob that believed that the masjid was built over a Hindu temple which was the seat of Lord Rama’s birth centuries ago. The railways has sent advisories to all states and Union Territories covering aspects like security at platforms, railway stations, yards, parking spaces, bridges and tunnels. The DGP of UP, O P Singh has indicated that 1,659 people are being watched on social media ahead of the Ayodhya verdict, 6,000 peace committee meetings have been held, a robust contingency plan is in place and the UP police is in touch with army and air force. An estimated 10,000 anti-social elements have been identified and bound down. All in all, there is a huge scare that has been created and while precautions to prevent violence are in full gear, the psychological scare that has been created is so all-pervasive that it appears there is anticipation of all hell breaking loose.

Must there be so much hype before an apex court judgement and so much fear psychosis of the shape that public anger can take? The administration has to prepare itself for all eventualities but no section of society can hold the country to ransom and take the law into its hands. No administration can profit from giving the impression that it is overawed. Law-enforcers have to dispel fears and those coming in the way of law and order have to be dealt with in a manner that evokes fear of authority. Millions of man-hours would be lost because there is virtual paralysis in offices acoss UP while there is grim foreboding all across the country as though a disaster is waiting to happen. It is indeed time the authorities restore a measure of calm, warn people at large that no one disturbing law and order would be spared and re-instill faith in the might of the state. Politics and politicians cannot be allowed to play havoc with society.

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