A cautious Maharashtra government was seen trying everything possible to avoid any communal trouble in the state.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan who held a series of meetings with everybody – from all-party delegations to editors to officials – on Thursday, appealed to people to maintain peace. “This is a step in the judicial process. The aggrieved party can go to the apex court,” he said, in his reaction to the verdict.
“All political parties and factions including RSS assured us that they would maintain peace,” he said.
Home minister R R Patil said he had spoken to all political leaders after the verdict on Thursday to ensure law and order was maintained. The tight security cover will continue in the state till the weekend. The home department said it did not anticipate a conflagration but there was apprehension of small incidents. “We anticipate trouble if right-wing Hindu organisations hold celebrations and burst firecrackers despite the ban,” a senior official said.
Firecrackers were indeed burst outside the BJP office at Nariman Point, as well as at Kalyan-Dombivli, Pune and Jalna. The police were asked to quell such celebrations by picking up miscreants.
Following the incident, Chavan spoke to BJP state president Sudhir Mungantiwar to ensure that his party did not encourage such incidents. Till late Thursday evening, no untoward incidents were reported in the state. On the political front, the ruling Congress and the NCP took a cautious stand.
Deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal said, “There is no question of victory or grief over the verdict. The verdict should be accepted peacefully and those unhappy with it can move in appeal.” State NCP president Madhukar Pichad stressed that this was part of the judicial process.
Congress president Manikrao Thakre urged people to refrain from using provocative language to hurt the sentiments of the other community. State Samajwadi Party president Abu Azmi said, “I welcome the verdict, but feel it is more of a compromise than a judgement.”