Ayodhya on Sunday saw heightened security ahead of separate events being organised by the Shiv Sena and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad over the construction of a Ram temple in the city. The Uttar Pradesh Police sealed the city’s borders in the morning, Hindustan reported.
The administration in Faizabad district on Saturday imposed prohibitory orders in Ayodhya that prevent four or more people from gathering at a spot.
The police erected barricades at Udaya Chauraha and Tedhi Bazaar, Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel stationed at both places. Security personnel prohibited people as well as two-wheeler and four-wheeler vehicles from either entering or making an exit. Bharatiya Janata Party Prateek Bhushan Singh was also stopped at the border.
Uttar Pradesh Additional Director General of Police Ashutosh Pandey said that the chief secretary and director general of police have provided the necessary personnel required for security, News18 reported. “Thousands of policemen have been deployed in Ayodhya along with strong barricading,” he said.
Ayodhya Deputy Inspector General of Police Omkar Singh said the police have made all arrangements for the VHP’s Dharma Sansad, or a grand rally, ANI reported. “We have made all the arrangements for the programme,” he said. “We have allotted spaces for parking, bypass is running and we will ensure it stays like that. We will do everything in an organised way.”
Around 1 lakh people are expected to participate in the Dharma Sansad.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray offered prayers at Lakshman Kila on Sunday, the site of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi. Thackeray said he had no hidden agenda in coming to Ayodhya and was only there to express the sentiments of Indians and Hindus across the world, who are waiting for a Ram Temple, ANI reported.
“Yogiji [Adityanath] had said that a temple did exist and will continue to exist here,” said Thackeray. “Unfortunately, we cannot see it. The temple should be built as soon as possible.”
The Shiv Sena chief had earlier repeated his demand for the Centre to announce a date for the construction of the temple. “First tell us when the temple will be built, then we can discuss other matters,” Thackeray said. “We want a date announced.”
However, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on Sunday said the Shiv Sena had no role in the movement pushing for the temple construction, PTI reported. “There is no problem in Uddhav Thackeray catching a glimpse of Ram Lalla,” he said. “But had Balasaheb Thackeray [Shiv Sena founder] been alive, he would have prevented Uddhav from doing whatever he is doing.”
Thackeray should combine forces with the VHP, “which is leading such a large-scale movement, along with his party”, said Maurya. “There is no point creating a divide,” he added.
Maurya criticised former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s statement that the Army must be deployed for the Dharam Sansad. “This is a Dharam Sansad, and there is no need to deploy the Army, and Akhilesh Yadav must understand this,” he said.