Things were quiet in Maharashtra on Thursday, day of the Ayodhya verdict, but attendance in offices was thin. The police dealt with attempts by BJP workers to burst crackers in Mumbai and other areas.

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said the people should respect the verdict, and should not celebrate it or react adversely.

Dispute over: Sena

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, in a cryptic statement, said the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute had been festering for years and Thursday's verdict by the Allahabad High Court Bench in Lucknow was good in that it had finally ended.

Talking to the media, Mr. Chavan said: “The government has taken adequate precautions to ensure that no untoward incident takes place.” The verdict should not be used to hurt anyone's sentiments. As it was a legal order, it would favour some, and people should therefore exercise restraint.

Mr. Chavan spoke to State BJP chief Sudhir Mungantiwar and asked him to exercise restraint. Tight security will be maintained in the State for a few days.

In the morning, prohibitory orders were promulgated in all districts banning the assembly of more than five persons at one place, even as the ban on firecrackers continues. There will be no victory processions either.

State road transport corporation said fewer buses were on the road. In the Secretariat here, attendance was 60 per cent.

Most people left office early and traffic was thin in many parts of the State.

Congress spokesperson Hussain Dalwai said the verdict should not be politicised and should be accepted by all. At last, after so many years, there was some end to the Ayodhya issue.

In the wake of the verdict, the Congress postponed a programme planned for October 2 at Sewagram in Wardha to October 7. Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thakre said the party would instead celebrate sadbhavna saptah or the communal harmony week.

Prayer meetings for peace and communal harmony would be held in villages across the State in the aftermath of the verdict.

The party had planned a series of “flag marches,” which was to culminate at Sewagram with a public meeting. It will now be held next week. Congress president Sonia Gandhi has been invited to the meeting.

Keywords: Ayodhya verdict