Amid heightened security, Muslims offered their first Friday prayers at mosques in the district since the Supreme Court verdict in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case. Security forces have kept a hawk-eye vigil over the holy town since November 8 evening, a day before the landmark judgement.
"The Friday namaz was offered by people at various mosques in Ayodhya district. Security was stepped up today and will continue to be for the remainder of the day. Everything went off peacefully," Ayodhya District Magistrate Anuj Jha told PTI.
No untoward incident was reported from any part of Ayodhya town or the district, he said.
A senior official said the Ayodhya-Faizabad twin towns have about 36 mosques, big and small.
“The DM and the district SSP took rounds to see the arrangements. People offered their 'jumma namaz' in peace,” he said.
Settling a fractious issue that goes back more than a century, the Supreme Court on November 9 backed the construction of a Ram temple by a trust at the disputed site in Ayodhya and ruled that an alternative five-acre plot must be found for a mosque in the holy town.
By late Thursday night, vigil around important religious sites such as Hanuman Garhi, Kanak Bhawan and Ram ki Paidi was stepped up and security personnel also guarded other important public places.
A high alert remained around the Janmabhoomi site too even as thousands of devotees streamed in to offer prayers to Lord Ram.
Security personnel are deployed throughout the town since November 8. Check-posts have been set up, and patrols intensify vigil at night.
The nearly four-kilometre stretch from the symbolic Ayodhya Dwar bordering Faizabad town to the main Ayodhya city remained under strict watch on Friday.
Movement on many side streets also remained restricted on Friday with intersections barricaded and police personnel allowing only pedestrians to pass through.
Manzar Mehdi, a Faizabad resident who offered 'namaz' in the morning at the city's main Jama Masjid, said, "Everything felt normal."
"Tight security arrangements have been made for the day. Many people offered prayers at Chowk Masjid and at Markazi Jama Masjid Tatshah, or at imambaras and in open fields," he said.