Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has welcomed the judgment of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on the Ayodhya land dispute, and expressed confidence that it will strengthen the unity and integrity of the country.

Mr. Modi said the verdict should not be seen as a victory or defeat of any one or the interests of any caste, religion or sects, but should be viewed as a step forward to raise the country's prestige and protect the unity and integrity of the nation.

The Chief Minister said the verdict would provide legal and constitutional support for the construction of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple.

Congratulating the people of Gujarat for a very “mature response” to the verdict, Mr. Modi said he was confident that they would maintain peace and tranquillity in the State in the coming days also.

Despite tension among many people over the fallout of the Ayodhya verdict, particularly among the 2002 riot-hit people, complete peace prevailed all over the State even as the law and order machinery maintained a hawk-like vigil to deal with any contingency.

Many people in Naroda-Patiya locality in Ahmedabad, among the worst-hit in the 2002 communal riots, had shifted to safer places or sent their family to stay with relatives in other cities and towns fearing a possible backlash over the verdict.

No untoward incident

Official sources said no untoward incident was reported, and the police, bolstered by additional reinforcements, including the Rapid Action Force and other paramilitary forces, remained alert.