THE CENTRE on Monday sought more time from the Supreme Court to evolve a consensus on its plan to install a bullet-proof structure around the idol of ‘Ram Lalla’ at the disputed site in Ayodhya “to strengthen its security.”
Additional Solicitor-General Gopal Subramanian told a bench headed by Justice K.G. Balakrishnan that the Centre was in talks with the Uttar Pradesh Government and other parties to arrive at a consensus on the issue.
This is for the third time that the Centre, which approached the court in July seeking permission to carry out certain constructions to strengthen the security of the disputed site and the idol, has sought time from the court on the issue.
The court’s permission for carrying out any construction in the disputed complex was needed in view of its earlier order to maintain status quo there.
With the Centre seeking more time, the plan, including installation of close circuit television and construction of concrete bunkers at the disputed site, seems to have been put on the backburner, at least for the next few months.
Barely a few days after the Centre moved the court for permission to implement its security plan, Mohd Aslam alias Bhure, known for his legal interventions in the Ayodhya case, filed a petition against it in the court.
His counsel M M Kashyap alleged that the Centre was buying time in view of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, likely to be held early next year. He said Bhure wanted to file his objections to the Centre’s plan.
The court adjourned the case for four weeks to enable the parties to file their affidavits and counter-affidavits. Various Muslim groups and leaders have been opposing the Centre’s move on the ground that the proposed over Rs 2.89 crore civil work, would convert the makeshift temple into a “confirmed Ram temple” even before the final decision of title suits by Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow bench.
Aslam has sought to restrain the Centre from going ahead with its plan, which included wooden roof with bullet-proof steel structure on four sides of ‘Ram Lalla’ and internal walls, as it would violate the status quo orders passed by the apex court in 1993, 1994 and 2003. Interestingly, while moving the court for permission to implement the security plan necessitated by the threat posed by terrorists, the Centre had said that the decision was taken after discussions with the UP Government and various intelligence agencies.
State’s security plan
HTC Lucknow adds: The State Government has drawn up an elaborate security plan after the July 5 ‘fidayeen’ attack at the temple site. Since the apex court was seized of the matter, the Centre had moved an application seeking permission for civil work. The steel chamber, as per the plan, would be air-conditioned. The government had proposed four steel walls surrounding the sanctum sanctorum to “blunt a rocket attack”.
Ayodhya security is joint responsibility of Central and state governments. The permanent security committee, headed by UP additional director general (Security) consists of IG CRPF and joint director, Intelligence Bureau.
The state government, in consultation with the Centre, had chalked out a Rs 56.32-crore security plan for the disputed shrines at Ayodhya. The state government said foolproof security arrangements would be made to thwart any attempt by terrorists in future.
In place of simple CCTVs, the state government had proposed high-dome CCTVs so that it could also work in night. Other facilities like PA system, 48-line intercom system and digital mapping had also been proposed. There was also a provision of two bulletproof vehicles for the quick movement of security forces.