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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Ayodhya wakes up to busy ghats, buzzing markets

Manish Chandra Pandey, Hindustan Times  Ayodhya, August 26, 2013
First Published: 20:35 IST(26/8/2013) | Last Updated: 20:38 IST(26/8/2013)

A day after Sunday's crackdown, normalcy appeared to be returning to this temple town.

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Pilgrims, commoners and plain onlookers who had been forced indoors due to Sunday build-up, were seen visiting the Saryu ghats and markets since Monday morning.

The arrest of their top leaders and the continued heavy security cover perhaps deterred the saffron cadres from participating in the VHP's Monday's protest call against Sunday's arrest of saints.

The Tikonia park in Ayodhya where the VHP had announced plans to hold protests, wore a deserted look as the district magistrate VK Dwivedi and SSP KB Singh ensured that the park remained out of bounds for the saffron brigade.

Youths along with few saffron clad men burnt an effigy of UP minister Azam Khan - whom the saffron cadre blames for the Sunday ban and subsequent police action -- at the Naya Ghat road. But they were promptly arrested.

Common Ayodhya residents were more worried about prices of vegetables and other essential commodities shooting up as the temple town got virtually cut off due to unprecedented checks put in place by the UP government to stop the saints from outside Ayodhya from entering the temple town.

"The green chilli price has shot up like anything over the last couple of days. It's selling for Rs. 200 per kilogram. Now, that's all because of this political activity. We have become pawns in the political game," said Amaresh Pandey, principal of Sanskrit College at Ram Ghat. 

Samajwadi Party Ayodhya MLA and UP minister, Pawan Pandey said: "Ayodhya is peaceful". He pointed out that the timid response to the Chaursi Kos yatra as proof that VHP and saffron brigade have been exposed.

Pandey said: "I dare VHP leaders to contest from Ayodhya if they think people of this temple town would still listen to them."

But Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the chief of the Ram Janmabhhomi Nyas before leaving for Mathura on Monday told HT that the UP government should have allowed the parikrama.

"Skies would not have come down had the parikrama been allowed. It's wrong to say that such parikrama cannot take place at this time. It can," he said.

Before his Sunday arrest, former BJP MP and VHP's marg darshak mandal member Ram Vilas Vedanti had said that the parikrama was as much for the temple cause as for ensuring that the UP's Samajwadi Party government didn't allow an Islamic centre to come up in the temple town.

"We had reports that the government in order to appease the minorities was planning to do it," he said.


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