People across the country accepted the Ayodhya verdict with calmness though many preferred to remain indoors. This was evident from the less-than-normal attendance in offices and schools and traffic in most states.
In Kolkata, for example, where the Durga Puja festivities are just a fortnight away, the streets were deserted and busy shopping areas such as Gariahat in the southern part of the city were devoid of shoppers.
In most other cities, many citizens stayed at home to switch on their TV sets to catch the news on the contentious issue that has been used to whip up passions and engineer riots in several places in India in the past.
Or it’s possible that people were disinclined to venture out on a day that could turn out to be violent, what with the police and security forces out in large numbers.
“There was tension before the judgment but afterwards everyone felt relieved. The court has tried to do justice to both sides,” said Bhopal telecom professional Javed Ali (36).
His view was shared by lawyer Purushottam Agrawal (56): “Our anxiety is over. I am happy that everyone has welcomed the verdict.”
Political leaders played a role in ensuring peace. Perhaps, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan summed up the nation’s sentiment on Thursday by saying, “The verdict is a judicial procedure. All of us should respect it. The nation is bigger than any religion.”
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar pitched in by declaring, “The ruling is such that it is nobody’s victory or defeat. The verdict should not be seen in terms of a victory or defeat.”
While Gujarat CM Narendra Modi hailed the verdict as a “catalytic agent that would strengthen national unity”, ordinary people in Ahmedabad wanted life to go on normally.
"We have nothing to do with the verdict. We only want peace and harmony,” said hawker Qasam Hussain.
"The judgement should not affect peace and the daily lives of any citizen anywhere,” said college student Jignesh Shah.