The whole of Kerala came under ban orders on Thursday, issued in anticipation of the verdict by the Special Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court in the Ayodhya title suits at 3.30 p.m. today.

The orders prohibiting marches, public gatherings and demonstrations will be in force until Friday in most of the districts. They would be extended in case of any serious law and order problems following the pronouncement of the verdict.

Police personnel are keeping a on vigil at prominent public places, railway stations, bus stands and important places of worship. Several people have been taken into preventive custody. More than 35000 policemen and reserve police have been kept in readiness.

Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan, Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and other leaders have appealed to the people to maintain calm and report to the police any attempt by any quarters to foment trouble. The security for the Chief Minister has also been stepped up.

The Home Minister said that the police had been put on high alert for two days. None would be allowed to exploit the situation following the verdict.

Our Staff Reporter from Kochi

Tight security in Ernakulam district

About 2, 000 personnel, including special intelligence teams and armed force battalion have been mobilised in areas coming under the Ernakulam Rural Police hours before the court verdict in the Ayodhya title suits on Thursday morning.

Speaking to The Hindu, T. Vikram, Superintendent of Police (Ernakulam Rural), said that no untoward incident was reported in the region. He said that the police had been fully mobilised to ensure law and order.

Mr. Vikram said that he reviewed the situation with the officials of the State intelligence agencies today.ce

Any inflammatory posters, SMS messages or spreading malicious rumours by miscreants would be sternly dealt with. People trying to organise unlawful meetings after the pronouncement of the verdict would also be taken in to custody, Mr. Vikram said.

Special intelligence teams have been deployed in all sensitive regions. Mobile patrolling has also been strengthened across the district. Police are also keeping a close watch on the activities of the religious groups ahead of the judgement.