Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday expressed satisfaction with the peaceful law and order situation across the country in the wake of the Allahabad High Court's verdict in the Ayodhya dispute, saying people's response to it was “respectful and dignified.”
Quoting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement on the judgment that “the correct conclusion, at this stage, is that the status quo will be maintained until the cases are taken up by the Supreme Court,” Mr. Chidambaram said the Centre “is pleased and satisfied that the response of the people… to the judgment has been… “respectful and dignified.”
The Centre had no role in the issue, except maintaining the status quo and ensuring law and order, he said at his monthly press briefing.
It was a fair assumption that the verdict would go to the Supreme Court, which might pass some interim order and take it up for hearing. “Therefore, there is no need for commenting on the judgment. There is no role for the Centre now. The judges have ordered that status quo will be maintained. As of now, the judgment is not operational and status quo as decreed in an earlier Supreme Court order will be maintained.”
Mr. Chidambaram appealed to the media, especially television channels, not to “over-interpret” the judgment and devote extraordinary space and time to it.
Asked whether the judgment would in any way weaken the case relating to the demolition of the Babri Masjid, he said it had nothing to do with the December 6, 1992 demolition. “That act was completely unacceptable, and it was an act done by people who took the law into their own hands. This judgment in no way interferes with the demolition that remains a criminal act.”
To a query on Chief Minister Mayawati's allegation that the Centre did not provide adequate police forces, he said, “I thought the Uttar Pradesh government is maintaining law and order with the assistance of the forces provided by the Central government. If the State government thinks that the Centre should maintain law and order with the assistance of the U.P. police, so be it.”
In his opening statement, Mr. Chidambaram said that in anticipation of the judgment, 52 companies of the paramilitary forces were deployed in the State. These included 40 companies of the CRPF and 12 companies of the Rapid Action Force. Paramilitary forces were also deployed in other States. Some companies were kept in reserve for any emergency. The Indian Air Force was on standby to rush these personnel to trouble spots, he noted.