The administration in Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad district has imposed prohibitory orders in Ayodhya ahead of two separate events planned by the Shiv Sena and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Sunday to push for the construction of a Ram temple in the town, News18 reported. Section 144 prohibits the assembly of more than four people.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray arrived in Ayodhya to offer prayers at Lakshman Kila, reported NDTV. Thackeray was accompanied by his wife Rashmi, son Aditya and several other party workers who are in the city for the event.
The Shiv Sena chief repeated his demand for the Centre to announce a date for the construction of the temple, ANI reported. “First tell us when the temple will be built, then we can discuss other matters,” Thackeray said. “We want a date announced.”
Meanwhile, a minister in Chief Minister Adityanath’s government, OP Rajbhar, has seconded former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s suggestion to bring in the Army to maintain law and order in the state, ANI reported. Rajbhar’s party, the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, is a partner in the state’s ruling alliance.
Rajbhar said, “I welcome Akhilesh [Yadav’s] statement. Section 144 is imposed in Ayodhya, and yet the administration is letting people gather there, it means they have failed.”
On Friday, the former chief minister and Samajwadi Party chief had called on the Supreme Court to send the army to the city to avoid a law and order situation as the Bharatiya Janata Party “can go to any extent”. “The kind of environment there is in UP, especially in Ayodhya, the SC should take notice of it and bring in the Army, if necessary,” Yadav had told reporters.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Friday had criticised the Centre’s “inaction” on the matter. “The Babri mosque was demolished in 17 minutes,” PTI had quoted Raut as saying. “How much time does it take to draw up papers?...From the Rashtrapati Bhavan to Uttar Pradesh assembly...they are all BJP governments.”
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad will organise a Dharma Sabha, or a grand rally, calling for the temple’s construction. Around 1 lakh people are expected to participate in the event.
The organisation said this would be the biggest congregation of religious leaders and supporters of the Ram temple since 1992, when the Babri Masjid was razed. The Hindutva outfit has organised bike rallies and processions across Uttar Pradesh in the past few days to mobilise support for the cause.
Security increased in Faizabad
Additional Superintendent of Police (Faizabad) Sanjay Kumar said an additional 10 companies of the Central Paramilitary Force and 68 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary have been deployed in the district. Police personnel from adjoining districts have also been called in, he added.
The district administration has also planned to install CCTV cameras and use drones to monitor the events, reported the Hindustan Times. The anti-terrorism squad of the police and a bomb disposal squad will also be deployed in the temple town, an unidentified district administration officer said.
Ayodhya District Magistrate Anil Kumar said there was “no environment of fear”, reported ANI. He said the Shiv Sena and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad have have assured that “the programmes will only be conducted on the conditions that were given to them”. Divisional Commissioner Manoj Mishra said administrative and police officers cannot take leave till Monday.