After Thackeray’s visit, VHP organises Ayodhya meet: Key developments

Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh: The right-wing group Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has organised a massive meet demanding the construction of the Ram temple on Sunday.

Earlier on Saturday, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray arrived in Ayodhya to “wake up the Narendra Modi government from a Kumbhakarna-like slumber” and demanded a date for the commencement of the temple construction. He was accompanied by Thousands of Shiv Sena supporters – who were also present there to put pressure on the centre regarding temple construction.

The VHP said its “Dharma Sansad” will be the biggest ever gathering of saints and supporters in Ayodhya and their agenda is to discuss the way forward for the construction of the temple. The VHP, in the last few weeks, mobilised support for the rally across Uttar Pradesh through bike rallies, processions and other public events. Ayodhya has turned into a fortress with multiple layers of security and deployment of drones as VHP and Shiv Sena supporters arrived in the temple town.

Here are the major highlights about the VHP event:

  • An Uttar Pradesh police spokesperson said that 35 senior police officers, in addition to 160 inspectors and 700 constables, have been deployed in Ayodhya. Forty-two companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary, five companies of the Rapid Action Force and several anti-terrorism squad commandos have also deployed. They are being supported by drones. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath reviewed the security situation in a late night meeting with the UP police chief, the home secretary and other officials.
  • Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray arrived in Ayodhya yesterday, with his wife Rashmi and son Aaditya. He was greeted with “Jai Shree Ram” slogans and Mahant Nrityagopal Das, the chairman of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, was among those who welcomed him at Lakshman Qila. Thackeray claimed that his two-day visit to Ayodhya is not linked to the VHP event. He described his visit as the first one to the temple town to seek ‘darshan’ of Ram Lalla.
  • Thackeray asked the Narendra Modi government to wake up from a “Kumbhakarna-like slumber” and declare the date for its construction. The Sena leader urged the government to bring a legislation or an ordinance for building the temple on the disputed site in Ayodhya.
  • The VHP claimed that three lakh people, including seers, will attend its Dharm Sabha today. The group is also pushing for an ordinance for the construction of the temple.
  • All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) chief Zafaryab Jilani said that Muslims in Ayodhya are “terrified” ahead of the VHP meeting. “The Muslims living in Ayodhya are terrified since about the past week. We have also asked those feeling insecure to come to Lucknow if they want,” Jilani told news agency PTI.
  • A group of left parties comprising CPI-M, CPI, All India Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party or RSP, and the CPI-ML, on Saturday called for observing `Defend the Constitution and Secularism Day’ on December 6- the day when the Babri Masjid was demolished. December 6 is also the death anniversary of BR Ambedkar.
  • Samajwadi Party chief and former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said that the Army should be deployed in Ayodhya, if needed, to maintain law and order.
  • Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Saturday slammed the BJP and the Shiv Sena, saying they are raking up the Ram temple issue ahead of the Lok Sabha polls to divert attention from their failures. “Had their intentions been good they needn’t have waited for five years. It’s their political tactic, nothing else,” she said in a statement.
  • Former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Saturday warned that the use of religion and caste by political parties to capture power can create an atmosphere of hate and division and asserted that saner elements in the society need to unite to counter such evil designs.
  • The Supreme Court on November 12 had declined an early hearing of petitions in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case. A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul had said that it had already listed the appeals before the appropriate bench in January.