Tensions flared high in Ayodhya as the ‘Dharma Sabha’ organised by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) commenced in the temple town on Sunday to drum up support for the construction of a Ram temple. A parallel rally was also held by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who warned that unless the temple was built, the BJP would find itself out of power.
The event, which was organised at Bade Bhakt Mal Ki Baghia, around 300 metres from the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas workshop, saw over three lakh ‘Ram Bhakts’ in attendance.
Security was beefed up ahead of the event, which has been touted as the biggest congregation of ‘Ram bhakts’ in Ayodhya since the 1992 ‘kar sewa’. At the event, senior VHP leader Champat Rai said that no formula dividing the disputed land would be acceptable for temple construction. His remarks are considered to be in reference to the Allahabad High Court verdict of Septemeber 2010, which proposed dividing the disputed territory into three parts.
Backing his statement, 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.”
Praant Sangathan mantra (Awadh) of VHP Bholendra 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,” PTI reported him as saying.
Meanwhile, continuing his tirade against the Centre and UP government, Thackeray demanded that an ordinance be brought in to pave for its way, warning that Hindus sentiments should not be taken for granted. The Shiv Sena chief, who has been camping in Ayodhya since Saturday, also said he visited the temple town to represent the sentiments of Hindus living in India and abroad and that he is not seeking any political mileage from this.
“I am only asking (BJP) that when you were campaigning for elections you said all possibilities will be explored under the Constitution …what has been done in four years ..when will you explore possibilities,” PTI quoted him as saying.
He also came down hard on Yogi Adityanth, saying the Uttar Pradesh CM claims that there was a Ram Temple in Ayodhya and there will always be one. “But when will it be visible… it should be constructed at the earliest,” Thackeray said.
Hitting back at the Shiv Sena, BJP MLA Surendra Singh said, “How can Shiv Sena hijack the issue? The people who thrash north Indians and drive them out, who don’t even have the mentality to serve humanity, how will they serve Lord Ram?”
Meanwhile, The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind, seeking his urgent intervention into the developments in Ayodhya. “If any attempt is made to forcibly change the status quo at the disputed site at Ayodhya, it would tantamount to a gross violation of the orders of the Supreme Court,” AIMMM chief Navid Hamid said in the letter.
Hordes of activists of both the VHP and the Shiv Sena carrying saffron flags and chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ dotted the roads. In the background, posters with images of Lord Ram and the slogan ‘Chalo Ayodhya’ dot the roads. At many places, small trucks were stationed to showcase the 1986 ‘Ramayana’ TV series.
The police also constricted the number of devotees visiting the makeshift tent for Ram Lalla due to law and order problems. Despite the heavy arrangement, no unpleasant incidents occurred in the day.
(With agency inputs)