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Ayodhya tense prior to Ram temple events; VHP assures ‘disciplined’ crowd

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Situated in Uttar Pradesh, Ayodhya is headed for a tense weekend with two major events to push for the slated construction of Ram temple on Sunday.

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The first political party to arrive at the location is Shiv Sena, whose chief Uddhav Thackeray is already in Ayodhya today for a two-day visit.

The party commander Uddhav Thackeray will offer prayers at the Ram janmabhoomi, participate in the aarti by the Sarayu river and will speak to saints and people there.

Thackeray is also carrying a pot full of soil from the Shivneri fort in Pune, which will be handed over to the mahant or priest at the janmabhoomi.

Though Shiv Sena’s political presence in Uttar Pradesh is negligible but its leader doesn’t refrain from making profane statement. Yesterday, Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who is in Ayodhya, raised brows when he said, “We demolished the Babri masjid in 17 minutes, how much time does it take to draw up papers? If you talk about an ordinance, then from the President’s House Rashtrapati Bhavan to Uttar Pradesh, it is BJP all the way. What else do you want?”

Notably, the bigger event in Ayodhya is a ‘dharma sansad’ which is organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Sunday.

The political cum religious outfit said it will be the biggest congregation of saints and supporters of the Ram temple since 1992 when the Babri Masjid was razed. It also declared that the agenda is to discuss the way forward for the construction of the Ram temple, the right wing organisation said.

In the last few days, the VHP has been mobilising support for its big event through bike rallies and processions across UP.

During one such event there was a clash in eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Mirzapur.

Iqbal Ansari, one of the main litigants in the Ayodhya land dispute case, said, “There was a minor dispute during a Ram-Janaki bike yatra by the VHP through minority-populated areas and some tension in Kanpur, but in both the cases, there was no loss of life or major destruction. But the events have been enough for Muslim litigants in the Ayodhya title suit to ask for security. Our houses were burnt down in 1992 (during the demolition of the Babri Masjid).”

He further added, “If a crowd pours in here, like in 1992, the Muslims of Ayodhya and I should be given protection. If my security is not heightened, I’ll leave the city before November 25.”

On the contrary, the VHP claimed that Ram bhakts are always in control. Sharad Sharma, spokesperson of the VHP said, “These are disciplined people, always in control. They only need direction and that will come from our saints. This is a religious programme.”

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and chief of the Samajwadi Party, Akhilesh Yadav has urged the Supreme Court to deploy the army, if necessary, to keep the situation under control.

Akhilesh Yadav said, “The BJP doesn’t believe in either the Supreme Court or the Constitution. The party can go to any extent. The kind of environment there is in UP, especially in Ayodhya, the Supreme Court should take notice of it and send the army if necessary.”

It is to be noted that from top to several mid-level police officers, 160 inspectors, 700 constables, 42 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), five companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF), Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) commandos and drone cameras have been deployed in Ayodhya. The government has also assured that there is a CRPF ring around the disputed site, to handle any untoward situation.

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