Lucknow: Curfew like situation prevailed in major parts of Uttar Pradesh today with markets closing at various places and vehicles going off the roads even before Allahabad High Court delivered its verdict on the Ayodhya title suits in the afternoon.
While markets closed prematurely in majority of the districts, especially the sensitive ones, vehicles remained off road with people rushing back to their homes early fearing trouble in the wake of the verdict.
In Lucknow, where a three-judge special bench of the high court delivered the verdict after 3 pm, markets in sensitive areas were closed since morning whereas shops in other parts of the city started pulling down their shutters by 2 pm and there was complete closure by 3 pm.
Even as tight security arrangements were made across the city, a number of schools closed early and commuters had a tough time as public transport vehicles remained off road.
There was a little panic following reports of a bomb lying near Kapoorthala crossing in Aliganj area.
However, the situation was immediately controlled by police, which promptly reached the spot with a bomb disposal squad and defused the device.
An alert was declared in Gonda district, where the administration advised people to remain indoors as the police staged a flag march.
Special security arrangenments were made in minority dominated areas.
In Faizabad and Ayodhya which means 'where no battle has been fought', people waited with bated breath for the verdict. Though Faizabad was already closed due to weekly closure, shops in Ayodhya pulled down shutters as the verdict time neared.
After the verdict was out security was beefed up further and no vehicle was being allowed to enter the town without extensive checking.
In Jaunpur district streets wore a deserted look since afternoon as the markets remained closed.
After the verdict was pronounced by the HC security was stepped up in the minority dominated pockets and police patrolling intensified in the sensitive areas.
Firozabad, which is considered a sensitive district, there was an undeclared curfew like situation as people kept indoors.
Even bus stands and railway stations wore a deserted look while shutters were down in the famous bangle market.
After the HC verdict police appealed to people not to assemble at one place and pay no heed to rumours.
Bareilly, which witnessed riots a few months back, was a bit tense and major markets remained closed since morning.
In Rae Bareli though markets closed early, situation was normal.