Ayodhya: A tense Ayodhya has turned into a virtual fortress for the weekend as Shiv Sainiks and members of Hindu outfit VHP converge on the holy city for two massive shows of strength to push the Centre to move on the Ram Temple issue ahead of the 2019 general elections.
While five train-fulls of members of the Shiv Sena started arriving in Ayodhya on Friday night from Maharashtra for party chief Uddhav Thackeray’s two-day visit, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad expects around 1 lakh workers to attend its Dharma Sabha on Monday.
Sources said another 1 lakh RSS workers will also attend the rally, and contingents of sadhus and seers will also pour into the temple town.
For the Ram Mandir clarion call, even slogans have been tweaked, with the ‘mandir wahin banaenge’ chant giving way to ‘mandir jaldi banaenge’. The Shiv Sena also summed up its approach to the issue by saying ‘pehle mandir, fir sarkar’ in a clear message to the BJP as it looks to emerge as the champion of Hindutva on UP soil.
The Faizabad district administration has imposed prohibitory orders (Section 144) at the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Majid disputed site amid reports that the minority community was feeling unsafe and some have started leaving the city fearing violence.
The state police has sounded a state-wide alert amid apprehension of trouble during the Dharma Sabha on Sunday. The government has posted ADG (Lucknow zone) Ashutosh Pandey and IG (Jhansi) SS Baghel to oversee the security.
“Extra force comprising 10 companies of Central Paramilitary Force and 68 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary has been deployed to keep a check on the law and order situation. Along with this, the local police force from adjoining districts has been called in,” ASP Ayodhya, Sanjay Kumar said.
According to sources, a flood unit of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) will also patrol the Sarayu River, while ATS commandos, along with Bomb-Dosposal Squad will be deployed in order to tackle any unwanted situation.
The Shiv Sena, for its show of strength, is expecting around 4,000 sainiks that will be brought in five special trains from Thane. The party is also expecting its 22 MPs and 62 MLAs to attend the two-day event for which it has painted Ayodhya saffron.
A senior RSS leader, meanwhile, said 80,000 workers will be brought into the temple town on Sunday in buses, 15,000 by train and another 14,000 will come on motorcyles.
In the run up to the rally, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Friday raked up the issue of Babri mosque demolition as the ally seeks to put pressure on the BJP to bring an ordinance on Ram Mandir.
“The Babri mosque was demolished in 17 minutes...How long does it take to prepare papers... to bring ordinance... from the Rashtrapati Bhawan to Uttar Pradesh assembly...They are all BJP governments,” Raut said.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav demanded that the Supreme Court should take note of the prevailing situation in Ayodhya and consider deploying Army to maintain peace and ensure security of the people.
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