TV debates in public places banned in Ayodhya

Ayodhya: Anticipating deterioration of the law and order situation and to maintain communal harmony ahead of the Supreme Court’s final verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, the Ayodhya administration has banned television debates in public places in the city.

Several television channels were expected to host debates on the Ram Janmabhoomi issue at public places in Ayodhya during the grand Diwali celebration — Deepotsav — and on the day the Supreme Court delivers its verdict. But the district administration has now banned television channels from holding debates in public places in Ayodhya.

Ayodhya District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha said, “I have banned television channels from holding public debates in public places in Ayodhya as they may cause breach of peace and lead to communal unrest.

“We have implemented prohibitory orders in Ayodhya. I have not issued a written order banning TV debates, but it is covered under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which prohibits an assembly of more than four persons in an area.

“However, if any television channel wants to hold a debate, it can do so in a private premises with the Magistrate’s prior permission.”

The district administration has also restricted television channels from inviting the litigants in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case to their debates.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order after concluding the 40-day hearing in the politically sensitive land dispute case. A date for the pronouncement of the verdict is yet to be announced.