Amid growing demands for construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, security was tightened in the city Thursday on the 26th anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal are preparing to mark the day as ‘Shaurya Diwas’ (day of bravery) and ‘Vijay Diwas’ (day of victory) and have asked people to light earthen lamps as on Diwali, while the Muslim outfits have said they will observe ‘Yaum-e-Gham’ (day of sorrow) and ‘Yaum-e-Syah’ (black day).
Ahead of the anniversary, police arrested eight persons apprehending trouble from them at the disputed site. One among them – Paramhans Das, Mahant of Tapaswi Chawni temple had threatened to commit self-immolation for the construction of Ram temple on December 6.
The Babri mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992, by ‘karsevaks’ who had converged as part of a movement by the BJP and Hindu outfits for Ram temple at the disputed site. The Ramjanmbhoomi/Babri Masjid title suit is pending in Supreme Court, which will decide the schedule of hearing in January.
Today marks the 26th anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition. Security has been heightened in Ayodhya. Highlights
Let there be peace in Ayodhya, say academia, locals
On the 26th anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition, the academia and locals of Ayodhya are more concerned about education and the nitty gritties of daily lives, even as 'Shaurya Diwas' and 'Yaum-e-Gham' programmes have become "routine affairs" here every year, PTI reported.
No proposal for families of karsewaks who died in 1990: Keshav Prasad Maurya
When asked if the UP government has any plans for the family members of karsewaks who had died in firing in 1990, Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya said, "Every devotee of Lord Ram and I stand firmly with the families of the karsewaks, who were sprayed with bullets in November 1990 during the SP regime. However, there is no such proposal under the consideration of the (state) government." He said if there was no road in the village of a deceased karsewak, they would be built.
Opinion: A Nation Wronged
In an opinion piece in today's The Indian Express, CPI leader and Rajya Sabha MP D Raja wrote the demolition of Babri Masjid went against constitutional morality and Ambedkar’s principles.
"Those who took pride in demolishing the Babri Masjid celebrate the ideals which perpetuate inequality, they uphold the social structures which sanction violence and hatred in the name of caste and faith. Ambedkar had cautioned that without the application of constitutional method, a grammar of anarchy would be in place, and our independence would be jeopardised. He set a personal example, as an exponent and practitioner of constitutional methods for achieving social transformation, empowerment of citizens and nation building. Those guilty of demolishing the Babri Masjid should also be held accountable for going against constitutional methods and principles. These forces are determined to intensify the anarchy they have wrought in the name of faith. They should atone for it," he wrote. Read more
Struggle of karsewaks etched in golden letters: UP Dy CM
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said the BJP accorded the highest priority to an agreement between parties for building the Ram temple in Ayodhya. In an interview to the PTI, Maurya also hit out at Shiv Sena for the remarks of his chief,saying no one can confine Ram Lalla in jail.
"...I am a product of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. No one can confine Ram Lalla in jail, and no one can stop the construction of the temple. The allegations levelled by (Uddhav) Thackeray ji are devoid of truth. Ram Lalla is 'anaadi anant' (eternal and unending), and it is impossible to confine him in jail," he said. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, during his two-day visit to Ayodhya last month, had said that when he visited the place where Lord Ram was seated, it looked like he was going to a jail.
"The BJP is in favour of the Ram temple's construction as per a judgement of the Supreme Court or through mutual agreement (among parties). And if both the options are exhausted, then the legislative route must be explored. The BJP accords highest priority to an agreement for paving the way for construction of the temple," Maurya said. Maurya said the demolition of the disputed structure was not a subject of debate. He said the struggle of the karsewaks has been etched in golden letters. "The people of the country know that it was the VHP, which struggled and fought for Ram Janmabhoomi," he said.
Returning to Ayodhya: Express' special coverage on Babri Masjid demolition
In December 1992, reporter Rakesh Sinha and photographer Praveen Jain chronicled the demolition of the Babri Masjid – events that led to it and the violence in its wake. Their reports and photographs led the Liberhan Commission to call them as key eyewitnesses. Last year, the duo returned to Ayodhya 25 years after the incident to track the new battlelines in an enduring conflict. Read the full coverage on ‘Returning to Ayodhya’ here.
On Babri demolition anniversary, Mamata asks people to uphold the secular fabric of the country
Twenty-six years after the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked the people to uphold the secular fabric of the country. Comparing the country to a human body, Banerjee tweeted: "Just like a human body is incomplete without all organs, India is incomplete without all communities, religions, castes, creed and gender. Let us pledge to uphold the secular fabric of India." She also added that December 6 is observed in West Bengal as "Sanhati Dibas"
Seers in Ayodhya seek divine intervention for early construction of Ram Temple
Seers in Ayodhya will offer special prayers and seek divine intervention for early construction of Ram Temple. Mahant Ramdas of Nirmohi Akhara told PTI that it will mark the day as 'Shaurya Diwas' (day of bravery), which has been a tradition for the last 25 years. "We are celebrating 'Shaurya Diwas' and then there will be a grand 'aarti' at Naka Hanumangarhi. We will seek divine intervention from Lord Ram and urge him to help us build a grand temple for him," he said. "Now we want that the Ram temple should be built at the earliest," he added.
Events that led to Babri Masjid's demolition
In 1989, Lal Krishna Advani, then BJP national president, embarked on a nation-wide rath yatra in support of fringe groups demanding that a temple for Lord Ram be built on the site of Babri Masjid.
The yatra succeeded in mobilising hundreds of Kar Sevaks across the country, who had later descended in Ayodhya. In 1990, at least 16 Kar Sevaks were killed in police firing after they partially damaged Babri Masjid. This resulted in large-scale communal clashes in Hyderabad. Over 200 people died and scores were injured as result of the firing.
On December 6, 1992, the mosque was brought down and an idol of Lord Ram was hastily installed on top of the debris. L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti were in Ayodhya on the day of the demolition. The three are accused of instigating the crowds and have been charged with conspiracy.
Security deployed in sensitive areas; police check hotels, vehicles
"We have heavy security deployment in the twin towns of Faizabad-Ayodhya. The civil police along with CRPF and RAF have been deployed on roads and sensitive localities," Superintendent of Police, Faizabad (city) Anil Singh said. "Checking of vehicles, hotels and dharmshala (rest houses) in Ayodhya is being conducted. We have made all necessary security arrangements and have allowed only programme which are held by both the communities every year," he said.
"Adequate security personnel have been deployed to ensure that no untoward incident takes place. Around 20-25 companies of police and Provisional Armed Constabulary (PAC) are permanently stationed at (Ram Janmabhoomi/Babri Mosque) the site and its vicinity,"the Mayor of Ayodhya, Rishikesh Upadhyay, said.
Heavy police deployment in Ayodhya
Over 2,500 police personnel, besides Rapid Action Force and paramilitary CRPF, have been deployed as part of multi-layered security in Ayodhya including in and around the disputed site and several parts of Hanumangarhi area of the city, officials said.
Welcome to the live blog. Today marks the 26th anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition. Security has been tightened in Ayodhya. Follow this space to track the latest developments