As the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha elections near, Ayodhya has become the cynosure of all eyes with the 6 December Babri Masjid demolition anniversary likely to act as a political potboiler.
Meanwhile, a consortium of five left parties in a joint statement on 3 December, said that they will observe 6 December as ‘Defend the Constitution and Secularism Day’.
BMAC Asks Modi, Yogi to Maintain Status Quo at Demolition Site
The Babri Masjid Action Committee has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to maintain status quo at the disputed site as per the Supreme Court orders.
The Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) will send a memorandum to Modi and Adityanath Thursday when the anniversary of the demolition falls. It has requested the people to observe the day peacefully and hold special prayers for early resolution of the dispute.
“The anniversary should be observed peacefully like in previous years and all memorandums addressed to the PM and the CM should be handed over to the district magistrate concerned, requesting them to maintain status quo at the demolition site as per the SC orders,” BMAC convener Zafaryab Jilani said.
Committee for Rebuilding Babri Masjid Says Will Accept SC Decision
A committee for rebuilding the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya held a demonstration at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Wednesday, 5 December, and said it will accept the decision of the Supreme Court on the dispute.
Mohammad Younus Siddiqui, president of All India Babri Masjid Rebuilding Committee, alleged that Muslims are being pitted against Hindus but, he added, in reality they want peace and communal harmony.
Siddiqui said they have submitted a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind on the issue.
“We find a binding and time-bound decision, and whatever the decision of the apex court, will be accepted by all sections of the Muslim community,” Siddiqui said.
Police Arrest Four Hindu Samaj Activists
Police on Wednesday, 5 December, arrested four activists of Hindu Samaj Party from Ram Janambhoomi police station area apprehending trouble from them at the disputed site on Thursday.
So far eight persons have been taken into custody this week, including Mahant of Tapaswi Chawni temple – Paramhans Das, who had threatened to commit self-immolation for the construction of Ram temple on December 6.
Security Tightened in Ayodhya
Hundreds of security personnel dotted the roads and bylanes and police made preventive arrests to thwart protests at the disputed site in Ayodhya on the 26th anniversary of demolition of Babri mosque on Thursday, 6 December, as authorities kept a tight vigil especially in the wake of saffron outfits raising the pitch over the sensitive Ram temple issue.
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.
Ayodhya Residents Recall the Horrors of 1992 Tragedy
Mohammed Azim, an auto-driver in Ayodhya, still recalls the frightening night of 6 December 1992 when he along with a group of other Muslim residents of the temple town had taken shelter in the farm fields fearing for their lives.
Azim, who was just 20 then, said:
The 46-year-old, now a father of four, feels upset that Ram Temple issue was again being raked up by some politicians and the Sangh Parivar, threatening the “fragile peaceful atmosphere” of Ayodhya, whose residents are still trying to come to terms with the tragedy 26 years later.
Mohammed Muslim, 78, who now drives an e-rickshaw, gets perturbed talking about the incident, and says he wished politicians and Hindu-outfits would not whip up communal frenzy.
Muslim, Azim and many other members from their community describe the incident as a “blot on democracy” when “mobs were allowed to take over the city”.
“The demolition first demoralised our community and then the ensuing violence in Ayodhya and riots in other parts of the country fractured our faith in the system. I had run away to Barabanki after the unrest in 1992, I was so terrified,” Muslim recalled.
But, it is not just minority community, which feels the pain, as Vijay Singh, a doctor who lives near the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi, said, the recollection of the incident sends chills down the spine.
The 48-year-old medic says he was present in Ayodhya on the day the 16th century mosque was demolished and saw the violence that followed in the holy city.
“It was terrible. We do not want another Ayodhya tragedy,” he said.
“We want to preserve the peaceful atmosphere, but politicians stoke fire to suit their agenda. Even in 1992, so many people had come from outside to bring the structure (mosque) down. It was a very tragic and unfortunate incident that affects Ayodhya till this day,” Singh said.
Shiv Sena to Hold ‘Dharma Sabha’ in Pandharpur
Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday, 4 December announced that it will hold a ‘Dharma Sabaha’ in Maharashtra’s temple town, Pandharpur on 24 December to push for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, NDTV reported.
The Shiv Sena will reportedly demand that the ruling NDA declare the date for the construction of the temple.
Govt Planning Riots on Ram Temple Issue with Owaisi’s Help: MNS Chief
MNS chief Raj Thackeray on Monday, 3 December claimed the central government was planning to stage riots on the Ram temple issue with the help of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen led by Asaduddin Owaisi.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief said, “The central government may try to instigate riots with AIMIM over Ram Temple issue”.
Left Parties to Observe 6 Dec as ‘Defend the Constitution & Secularism Day’
Five left parties, in a joint statement on 3 December, said they will observe 6 December as ‘Defend the Constitution and Secularism Day’.
The statement issued jointly by the CPI(M), CPI, All India Forward Bloc, RSP, CPI(ML)-Liberation and SUCI(Communist), called upon their all units to work out programmes of holding joint demonstrations, dharnas and meetings on 6 December.
“This campaign is designed to subserve the communal agenda of the Sangh brigade and nullify the provisions relating to secularism in the Indian Constitution,” the Left parties said in the statement.
Next Surgical Strike on JeM Chief if Ram Temple Construction Hindered: UP CM
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday, 4 December said that the next surgical strike by India will be on Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar if the latter tries to hamper the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, ANI reported.
Adityanath’s was addressing a rally in Rajasthan when he openly issued the threat to Azhar. “If Masood Azhar threatens us over Ram temple then terrorists like him will be eliminated in the next surgical strike. Even his masters will not be able to save him,” he said.
The 46-year-old UP CM during the rally also emphasised the Bharatiya Janata Party’s committment towards the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
500 Ashrams in Ayodhya to Be Illuminated
Mahant Ramdas of Nirmohi Akhara told PTI that around 500 prominent ashrams of the temple town will be illuminated with lamps on 6 December.
“We will celebrate the day as Shaurya Divas as it was on this day Ram Janmabhoomi was ‘liberated’ from a Mughal structure. We will light ghee lamps at around 500 prominent ashrams of the temple town to celebrate the day,” he said.
Heavy Security Deployed in Faizabad, Ayodhya
The year 2017, which marked the completion of 25 years of demolition of Babri Masjid, had seen heavy security deployment in the twin towns of Faizabad and Ayodhya, as the VHP and Bajrang Dal observed ‘Shaurya Diwas’ (Day of Valour) while Muslim organisations observed ‘Yaum e Gham’ (Day of Sorrow).
This year, too, the Faizabad administration has enacted heavy security deployment in the two towns. Police along with the CRPF and the RAF have been deployed in the sensitive localities of Ayodhya and Faizabad. Regular searches of vehicles, hotels and dharamshalas are also on in the region.
Dharam Sansad Planned in Prayagraj
The celebrations by Hindu outfits are likely to continue beyond 6 December. On 18 December, they are likely to mark Gita Jayanti – or the advent of Bhagavad Gita, the sacred text of Hindus.
Besides this, another Dharam Sabha is scheduled to be held in Delhi on 9 December, followed by a Dharam Sansad in Prayagraj on 31 January and 1 February.
At the Dharam Sansad, more than 5,000 seers from across the country will participate. “Seers from southern states and north-eastern states will be specially invited,” Sharad Sharma, VHP spokesperson in Ayodhya, told PTI.
“Social harmony will be another issue on which detailed discussions will be held,” Sharma said.
“Through the Dharam Sabha, we were able to send a message that the Hindu society wants a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya,” he said, adding the road map of the next course of action will be finalised during the 2019 Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.
Right-Wing Outfit to Observe Shaurya Diwas on 6 Dec
As the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha elections near, the temple town of Ayodhya has become the cynosure of all eyes with the 6 December Babri Masjid demolition anniversary likely to act as a political potboiler.
Days after the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) organised ‘Dharam Sabha’ in Ayodhya to seek support for the construction of a grand Ram temple, the ring-wing outfit will observe ‘Shaurya Divas’ on 6 December.
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“Shaurya Divas (which marks the demolition of Babri Masjid) will be traditionally celebrated. In Ayodhya, the VHP along with various Hindu organisations are likely to hold a number of religious programmes, including hawan, so that a grand temple of Lord Ram is built in Ayodhya,” Sharad Sharma, VHP spokesperson in Ayodhya, told PTI.
“Special prayers will be offered to Goddess Saraswati so that she can help the people, especially politicians, in removing any obstruction in the path of construction of Ram temple,” Sharma said.
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“Sarva baadha mukti hawans (hawans seeking to get rid of all obstructions) will be held. Tributes will also be paid to the kar sevaks who faced the bullets,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)