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Above:  Sadhus participating at a ‘Dharam Sabha’, organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to push for the construction of the Ram temple, in Ayodhya (file pic)/Photo: UNI

The build-up at the disputed site in Ayodhya is reminiscent of the dark days preceding the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6 1992

By Govind Pant Raju

It was the last week in the month of November; the city of Ayodhya was once again filled with echoes in the name of Lord Rama, chants ranged from “Jai Shri Ram” to “Hey Ram” all around. Once again various political leaders made way through the city loaded with their quivers filled with arrows. It’s quite ironical that Lord Rama never fought any battle in his precious kingdom of Ayodhya, but his modern-day followers have turned the holy land into one scarred by unholy rebellions. The Government had to extend maximum security to keep the city functional. Apart from an imposed curfew, around 48 company PAC’s, 1 ADG, 1 DIG, 3 SSP, 10 SP, 21 DSP, 160 Inspectors, 1000 constables, 5 company rapid action force along with ATS commandos were deployed to monitor & control the situation. Almost a dozen drones were also used to monitor the city with the district police.

All these precautions were taken to control the possibility of any terrorist activity as a huge crowd was present in Ayodhya. The local population had left their houses for safer shelters and a few people even house arrested themselves with their families with 10-15 days of food and water rations. The situation was deemed so critical that Akhilesh Yadav started demanding the help of the Indian Army to control the situation if anything went haywire.

However, the city proved everyone wrong, nothing went wrong and things quickly returned to routine. But the question still remains the same, what did we get out of the Ayodhya case? Are all these political movements enough to solve the prolonged argument of Rama temple? Or is it once again the dirty politics playing with the emotions of the people in the name of God.

“Jaa ki rahi bhavna jaisi, Prabhu murat dekhi tin taisi” ‘Ramcharitmanas’ talks about the beauty and power of Lord Rama and how he is the ultimate power in the universe. This belief has been the saviour of the city during the crisis. In the events that followed, Ayodhya experienced two major ones. One was the ‘Ashirwaad Samaroh’ of Shiv Sena party and another was a ‘Dharma Sabha’ organized by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The Shiv Sena scion, Uddhav Thackeray arrived via a chartered plane in the city declaring the Sena to be the leader of the Ram Mandir movement. The entire proceeding felt like a ruse to exert some influence on the weakening stronghold that Maharashtra is for the Shiv Sena. He blamed the Central Government for being indecisive on the issue. However, when the chief priest Satyendra Das asked him specifically about the temple construction, it was quietly dismissed under the pretext of “Pehle Mandir fir Sarkaar”.  He also had no answer to the question on his stance on the court’s judgement regarding the issue.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad who are well supported by the BJP Government was the next to showcase their true Hindu virtues. They were able to gather some eighty to ninety thousand people in a mere 5 hours, although they had been claiming a count of three lakh. In this Dharam Sabha, everyone shared their feelings and perspective regarding the issue. The argument presented by Vishwa Hindu Parishad was rather a warning to the Muslim community to withdraw from the Ayodhya issue else they might have to face problems with Kashi and Mathura too. Although nothing came out clearly, Swami Rambhadracharya claimed that the central government will start the temple construction by December. He also claimed that this is being communicated to him personally by the representative of the central government. But as the debate heated up on the topic, Rambhadracharya was found walking out. However, Dinendra Das from Nirmohi Akhada was quick to pull down VHP mentioning it has no say in the matter of Ram Mandir. It was quickly asserted that Nirmohi Akhada was the one true representative of the issue. As further hue & cry ensued, Samajwadi party honcho Ajam Khan said he wanted UNO to look into the matter. In the midst of all these claims & counter-claims, it is extremely clear that all of this another phase of political motives being pushed around in the name of Ram Mandir. No single party whether the government, opposition or these various pressure groups have made any actual effort to understand and resolve the issue.

According to the Prime Minister, Congress has been a major obstacle in the construction of the temple accusing it of threatening the Supreme Court’s judges to manipulate the judgement. While Congress is avoiding commenting on the topic of both temple and the proposed statue of Ram (touted to be bigger than the statue of unity) in light of the coming elections. UP Government wishes for the statue to be 151 meters tall with an additional 20 meters of shade, indicating that the statue will be taller than anything else. However, the very next day the idea of the statue was put down by Swami Swaroopananda Saraswati in Ayodha, signalling the Yogi government that this particular move might be ineffective in pushing their agenda.

Yet another day comes to a close, all the issues still surrounding the once majestic Ayodhya unaddressed. While the face of parties keeps changing, it is clear that the only thing being pushed around are selfish political motives. While the city sleeps, hopes and succumbs to the routine, the shadow of what happened on 6th December 1992 still looms large.

—India Legal Bureau

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