Security was beefed up in Ayodhya ahead of the 26th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition on Thursday. Every year, both the communities hold several programmes to mark this day and this year is no different. However, as the pitch for the construction of a Ram Temple on the disputed land is gaining momentum, special attention is being taken to ensure there is no communal clash and hundreds of police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed to contain any tension in the state.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal are observing this day as ‘Shaurya Diwas’ (day of bravery) and 'Vijay Diwas' (day of victory) and have asked the people to light earthen lamps, while the Muslim outfits have said they will observe 'Yaum-e-Gham' (day of sorrow) and 'Yaum-e-Syah' (black day).
As many as 2,500 police personnel, besides Rapid Action Force and paramilitary CRPF, have been deployed as part of multi-layered security in and around the site and in the Hanumangarhi area of the city, officials said.
Security tightened in Ayodhya on the anniversary of Babri Mosque demolition. pic.twitter.com/NJjOakBqwX— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) December 6, 2018
"We have heavy security deployment in the twin towns of Faizabad-Ayodhya. The civil police along with CRPF and RAF have been deployed on roads and sensitive localities," Superintendent of Police, Faizabad (city) Anil Singh said as quoted by news agency PTI.
"Checking of vehicles, hotels and dharmshala (rest houses) in Ayodhya is being conducted. We have made all necessary security arrangements and have allowed only programme which are held by both the communities every year," the SP said.
Sharad Sharma, VHP spokesperson in Ayodhya, said that Hindu organisations are likely "to organise a number of religious programmes.” "Special prayers for Goddess Saraswati (the goddess of learning) are to be held so that the people, especially politicians do not hinder the construction of a Ram temple, besides hawans seeking to get rid of all obstructions.” "Tributes will also be paid to the innocent karsewaks who faced bullets and lost their lives," he said. Mahant Ramdas of Nirmohi Akhara said, "the day would be celebrated like Diwali and hawans would be held at Karsewakpuram".
On the other hand, state president of Indian Union Muslim League said, "We will observe this day as Black Day. Even the Supreme Court has termed the demolition of Babri Masjid as a matter of national shame". Afaq Ahmad Khan, the chairman of Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC), said, "We are waiting for the last 26 years for justice". The BMAC said it will send memoranda to the Prime Minister and the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister requesting them to ensure status quo at Ayodhya demolition site as per Supreme Court orders.
The Agra police also held a peace meeting that was attended by all the senior police officials of the district as well as representatives from the administration. Chairing the meeting, Agra SSP Amit Pathak expressed hope that both the Hindu and Muslim communities will maintain peace.