With days to go before the much-anticipated Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute case, religious leaders and organisations from both Hindu and Muslim communities have made appeals for calm.
Top Muslim clerics across Uttar Pradesh on Friday led appeals for peace in mosques just before Friday prayers, asking people from the community to maintain communal harmony at all costs. In Lucknow, appeals were led by Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, the Shahi Imam of Lucknow, president of the Islamic Centre of India and member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.
"Whatever the Supreme Court says, it has to be respected. There should be no celebration or any public opposition. Nothing should be said to hurt the sentiments of any other community. We have to maintain peace at all costs," Mr Rasheed told a crowd of about 500 people at Lucknow's Eidgah.
"The fabric of communal bonhomie and Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb should not be allowed to be damaged," he said in a statement.
The appeal from the Muslim side comes a day after the ruling BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS tweeted from its official handle, "Whatever be the verdict, everyone should accept it with an open mind. After the judgment, it is everyone's responsibility that the atmosphere of the country should remain cordial."
The right-wing group Vishwa Hindu Parishad, that runs a workshop in Ayodhya where carved stone pillars that will be used in any future Ram Temple in Ayodhya are storied, has also announced the suspension of all its November programmes in anticipation of the Supreme Court verdict.
"It's very heartening to see that organisations of all communities are making appeals for peace. We are all trying our best to ensure communal harmony is maintained," Lucknow's Shahi Imam Mr Rasheed told NDTV.
Meanwhile, a top Uttar Pradesh police officer visited Ayodhya on Friday afternoon, to review security arrangements ahead of the verdict that is expected within the fortnight.
The UP Police say they are already holding meetings at the village-level in Ayodhya and elsewhere in the state with members of both communities and urging restraint. Sources in the police say a plan is already in place to put in a large number of forces - both state and paramilitary - in Ayodhya in the next few days.
"Even normally, all 365 days, there is a security alert here. In the next few days, we will send more forces here and train them better. I think we will be able to secure this place better and ensure there is not even a one per cent deviation," said P V Rama Sastry, Additional Director General, Law and Order, Uttar Pradesh Police, who carried out the inspection in Ayodhya.