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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Babri demolition anniversary: Security beefed up in Ayodhya but residents say peace will prevail

Barriers have been installed at 12 entry points to Ayodhya, and police are scouring hotels, guesthouses, bus stations, railway stations and other public places for disruptive elements.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2017 22:17 IST
Sachchidanand Shukla and Pawan Dixit
Sachchidanand Shukla and Pawan Dixit
Hindustan Times, Ayodhya/Lucknow
File photo of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
File photo of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.(PTI )

The Faizabad district administration has tightened security in Ayodhya ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition on Wednesday.

As is the annual practice, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) will celebrate the day as Shaurya Diwas (bravery day) while Muslim groups mark it as Yaum-e-Gham (day of sorrow) and Yaum-e-Syaah (black day). However, residents are confident that the day will be marked by no untoward incident.

“Every December 6 since the mosque demolition has passed off peacefully in Ayodhya. I expect this year to be no different,” said Sandeep Garg, a 59-year-old resident of Naya Ghat area.

“Despite all the sound and dust, the people of Ayodhya are prudent enough to maintain the peace on December 6,” said 51-year-old Radhika Kapoor.

The authorities, however, are leaving nothing to chance. The local police were accompanied by paramilitary forces – including the Central Reserve Police Force, Rapid Action Force and the Provincial Armed Constabulary – in staging a route march on the main streets of the twin cities of Ayodhya and Faizabad through Monday and Tuesday.

Faizabad district magistrate Anil Kumar Pathak and senior superintendent of police Subhash Singh Baghel jointly convened back-to back meetings with bureaucrats, police officers and members of both communities. The administration asked the public to pay no heed to rumours.

Baghel said barriers were installed at 12 entry points to Ayodhya, and police were scouring hotels, guesthouses, bus stations, railway stations and other public places for disruptive elements. Temples dotting Ayodhya and Faizabad have also been asked to maintain visitors’ registers where the names of every out-of-town pilgrim can be recorded.

“We have issued an appeal to people to light diyas (earthen lamps) outside their houses to mark the day,” said state VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma, adding that they would organise a Hindu Swabhimaan Sammelan at their Karsevakpuram head office.

Hindu Mahasabha state spokesperson Manish Pandey announced that his organisation would celebrate the day as ‘Mandir Nirman Sankalp Diwas’ at Naya Ghat. Temples are also expected to be decked up on the occasion.

The Muslim community, for its part, plans to mourn the loss of its beloved mosque on December 6, 1992. Indian Muslim League state president Nazamul Hasan Gani said his organisation will stage a ‘dharna’ (sit-in) at the Gandhi Park in Civil Lines, Faizabad, to register a symbolic protest.

Muslim Majlis have asked traders from the community to shut their business establishments for the day and raise black flags at places of worship.

Mahant Raghunandan Das, the priest of Mithila Bhavan, claimed that all the events related to December 6 were politically motivated. “The hype is more this year because the BJP is in power at the Centre as well as the state,” he said.

First Published: Dec 05, 2017 22:16 IST

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