Ayodhya turns fortress ahead of VHP’s Dharam Sabha meet

Ayodhya:  Muslim families in Ayodhya have sought government protection fearing rerun of the 1992 Ayodhya violence as nearly 2 lakh right wing supporters have descended in the town for the Dharam Sabha called by the Vishva Hindu Parishad on what is being dubbed as ‘Super Sunday’.

Police have turned Ayodhya into a fortress with multiple layers of security and deployment of drones to keep an eye on possible mischief- mongers. Uttar Pradesh Police spokesperson said one additional DGP, one deputy inspector general (DIG), three senior superintendents of police (SSPs), 10 additional SPs, 21 deputy SPs, 160 inspectors, 700 constables, 42 companies of PAC, five companies of RAF, ATS commandos and drones were deployed here.

VHP media in-charge Ambuj Ojha said, “After staying in a ‘taat’ (tent), Lord Ram is expecting a revival of bravado among his devotees. The moment has come. The temple must be built where Ram Lalla is currently seated. Also, there should not be any mosque in the cultural boundary of Ayodhya.”

The renewed clamour for building the Ram Temple in Ayodhya started when Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha lawmaker Sanjay Raut on Friday created a flutter by saying ‘when Babri Masjid could be demolished in 17 minutes, why it was taking so long for a law to build a temple there’.

Following this, VHP backed by the RSS will hold the ‘Dharma Sabha’ on Sunday to press for an early construction of a Ram temple. Praant Sangathan mantra (Awadh) of VHP Bholendra in a written statement said this was the final Dharam Sabha for construction of Ram temple. “After this, no more Dharam Sabhas will be held and the construction of the temple will commence,” Ambuj Ojha said.

Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray will reach the town today along with 25,000 supporters. The Shiv Sena has asked the BJP to come out with an ordinance and declare a date for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. The organisers of the Dharam Sabha claim the more than 3 lakh devotees of Lord Ram were likely to arrive for the programme this Sunday.

Ayodhya mayor Rishikesh Upadhyay said that adequate security arrangements were made by the police and district administration in the town, located 120 km from state capital, Lucknow.

“As many as 13 parking slots have been provided for the event. No permission was given to the Shiv Sena by the government to hold a rally,” the mayor said. Despite a slight chill in the air, the temple town seems to be reeling under the political heat generated by the ‘Dharam Sabha’.

The Supreme Court on 12 November had declined early hearing of petitions in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case. A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul had said it already listed the appeals before the appropriate bench in January.

Earlier, a three-judge bench, by a 2:1 majority, refused to refer to a five-judge constitution bench the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement of the Allahabad High Court that a mosque was not integral to Islam. The matter had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.