Ayodhya verdict: Hundreds of scribes gather outside court

Lucknow, September 30: With the premises of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court being out of bounds, hundreds of journalists from across the country converged at the District Magistrate’s office in Qaiserbagh area here to report on the verdict in the decades old Ramjanmabhoomi- Babri Masjid title suit. (Read: Possible outcomes of the Ayodhya case)

Elaborate arrangements have been put in place and a special ‘pandal’ that can accommodate 500 journalists and camerapersons has been erected right opposite the court premises.

Multi-layered security apparatus has been activated around the High Court premises where entry of persons has been restricted. Barricades have been put up on roads leading to the High Court.

Several shops and business establishments, which were open earlier in the day, downed their shutters as the time of the verdict advanced. (Read: UP turns into a fortress ahead of verdict)

Inside the court premises, the passage leading to Court No. 21, where the verdict in the six-decade-old case would be pronounced, has been cordoned off and entry has been allowed only to the parties to the dispute and their lawyers.

Heavy presence of police personnel was seen on the way near Court Nos. 18, 19 and 20 and the special Ramjanmabhoomi- Babri Masjid section near Court No. 21.

Bomb disposal squads and sniffer dogs made rounds of the Court No 21 before Justices D V Sharma, Sudhir Agarwal and S U Khan were to pronounce the verdict.

There was a large police presence in the DM office but journalists seemed to outnumber them as scribes armed with laptops and microphones were seen milling around the area waiting for the verdict.

Police were allowing entry to journalists inside the premises through a small gate at the rear side of the DM Office compound after checking the identity cards.

At least 40 outdoor broadcast (OB) vans of various television channels were stationed in the compound ready to beam live the press conference by officials designated by the High Court to announce the verdict to the media.

A large number of lawyers were also seen in the media hall moving around in groups.