It was 7.30 on Thursday morning — about nine hours before the high court decision on the fate of the disputed piece of land — Saroj (14) was walking hurriedly to school from, Mudhrahiya, a village roughly five km from Hanuman Garhi in Ayodhya. Saroj had hardly any time to talk, as she wanted to reach on time.
“I can’t miss school. It’s not a holiday,” said Saroj, an 8th standard student at the Shehnaj Junior High School.
Asked whether she knew anything about what happened in Ayodhya back on December 6, 1992, Saroj said, “Yes. My father showed me the place where a large structure was demolished”.
Although those who were not going to school enjoyed watching the security personnel marching on the roads, Rakesh, a 4th standard student at Bal Vidya Mandir, is indifferent to the jawans’ grand uniforms and weapons. For, he has to go to school.
“They are here since the past few days and will leave once the judgment arrives. My fat-her said there’s nothing to worry,” said Rakesh while walking briskly towards his school.
Kids walking to school amid tight security arrangements was a common sight in Ayodhya on Thursday, as neither the district administration nor the school authorities announced a holiday.
Only those schools where the security forces were camping were closed. As the day progressed, tea stalls and grocery shops opened one by one.
“At least, one hundred daily customers come to my stall for their morning tea. If I do not come, they will look for another stall and I might lose business,” said Pradeep, who sells tea on the Ayodhya Road.
But by the time the verdict came in the evening, not a single shop was open on the road from Faizabad to Ayodhya. By 4.00 p.m., all shops near Hanuman Garhi and all other markets were closed.
Most people were glued to their television sets, trying to get an idea of the verdict. As the judgment came, cops took over the roads.
And there was no sign of the children who were marching towards their schools in the morning.