Heavy security cover in Ayodhya on Babri anniversary
Turned into a virtually impregnable fortress on the 16th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri mosque, the temple town of Ayodhya was swarming with security personnel, to thwart possible terror strikes.india Updated: Dec 06, 2008 16:26 IST
Turned into a virtually impregnable fortress on the 16th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri mosque, the temple town of Ayodhya was Saturday swarming with security personnel, including along the river Saryu, to thwart possible terror strikes, especially after the Mumbai attacks.
The entry points to the Uttar Pradesh town were strictly guarded, while policemen in motor boats were patrolling the Saryu river that flows gently along this ancient Hindu temple town, believed to be the birthplace of Hindu god Ram.
on Dec 6, 1992, frenzied Hindu mobs demolished the 16th century Babri Masjid that was said to have been built on the debris of a 12th century temple built to mark the Hindu god's birth. The razing of the mosque sparked off countrywide communal rioting leaving thousands dead. The Mumbai serial terror blasts in March 1993 were seen as a fallout of the mosque razing.
"We have deployed a dozen motor boats with more than 100 armed men to patrol the river round-the clock around Ayodhya and its twin town Faizabad as part of our stepped up vigil in the wake of the recent terror attacks in Mumbai," district police chief R.K.S. Rathore told IANS Saturday.
He said: "As many as 700 additional armed policemen have been pressed into service since yesterday to maintain strict vigil in and around the 'Ramjanmbhoomi' complex, which is under the surveillance of nearly 1,200 armed policemen."
An estimated Rs.8.64 billion has been spent on the security of the complex since Dec 6, 1992.
The police have been guarding a heavily barricaded makeshift Ram temple that was hurriedly established over the debris of the mosque after its demolition.
The mosque was taken over by Hindus way back in 1935, after the mysterious appearance of Ram's deity in the main hall of the mosque.
Even as there is no official restriction on "darshan" (seeing the deity) at the makeshift temple that draws thousands of devotees every day, the intensified security at all entry points to the temple town has clearly brought down the number of visitors.
"Well, we are not stopping people from visiting Ayodhya, but they are being subjected to havy checking and frisking which is unavoidable," said Rathore.
He added, "however intensified security may not be entirely be the reason for lower turnout at the Ramjanmbhoomi today; people usually avoid visiting the place on Dec 6."