Commoners, saints alike hit by security in Ayodhya

 
The temple town anxiously awaits the Allahabad High Court’s verdict on Thursday.
The sprawling ‘mutts’, ‘ashrams’ and ‘dharamshalas’ (rest houses) have no pilgrims while very few people are seen taking bath in the sacred Saryu river even though its the ‘pitrapaksha’ (a period when the Hindus perform pujas in the memory of their departed forefathers).

“Thousands of devotees used to flock the makeshift Ram Temple for ‘darshan’ of ‘Ram Lalla’ during ‘pitrapaksha’ and take bath in Saryu but for the past few days the numbers have dwindled to hundreds”, said Dr R P Gupta, who runs a clinic near the famous Hanumangarhi temple.

Makeshift temple’s chief priest Mahant Satyendra Das confirms this. “Only a couple of thousands devotees have been visiting Ram Lala for the past few days”, he told Deccan Herald.

The only ‘pilgrims’ for the past few days are the journalists from the print and eletronic media from across the country. They could be seen running from one place to another for ‘quotes’ from the sadhus and saints and the common public.

Even the headquarters of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) at ‘Karsevakpuram’ is devoid of activities with barely a few office bearers taking a nap along with a posse of security personnel.

“Faisala ho jaey to chutti milti...pata nahin kab tak ye case chalega” (the town will heave a huge sigh of relief if the matter is decided once and for all), is the common refrain of Hindu saints, Muslim commoners, educationists and officials.

Business hit

“Ayodhya is looking like Kashmir these days”, quips Raghavendra Shukla, a local resident while trader Janmejay Tripathi says that business has suffered owing to the uncertainty over the verdict.

Ayodhya railway station also bears a deserted look with very few passengers arriving in the town apprehending trouble after the verdict. “We are very anxious. We cannot sit at home but there is no use coming here also”, says Mohan Lal, a horse cart owner outside the station. 

The saints are hurt over “excessive security” at Ayodhya. “I was born here and now I am being asked to carry some identification paper while moving in the town”, says the priest of the famous Kanak Bhavan temple Pandit Suresh Chaturvedi.

Even the monkeys are feeling the pinch. “Fewer number of devotees mean less food for the thousands of monkeys... they are also awaiting pilgrims”, said a beggar sitting near the temple. Common people, saint community and the Muslims-all feel that the court verdict would not resolve the matter. “Negotiation is the only way out,” says Mahant Janmejay Saran of Janki Ghat.

People also seem to agree that there was very little chance of violence in the town after the verdict. And leaders from both sides have been making appeals to their respective community members not to celebrate the verdict if it went in their favour.

Don’t speculate on verdict, media told

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has asked the media not to speculate about the judgment till they have the copy of the operational part of the order on September 30, reports PTI from Lucknow.

“Press/Media are requested not to speculate about the judgment until they have a copy of the issues answered by the court and the operational part of the order,” Registrar of the Lucknow bench said in a statement issued here.

The Indian Journalists Union also appealed to the print and electronic media to observe utmost restraint and take extra care while reporting the judgment on the Ayodhya title suit to be pronounced by the court on Thursday.

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