Ayodhya on edge as 'Rambhakts' pour in temple town

Ayodhya on edge as 'Rambhakts' pour in temple town

Ayodhya remained on the edge as thousands of 'Rambhakts' (disciples of Lord Rama) poured in the town from different parts of the country and abroad to take part in Sunday's 'dharm sabha' even as an apprehensive administration ordered closure of all educational institutions and tightened security arrangements.

Large groups of saffron activists were seen arriving in Ayodhya filling the narrow and cramped lanes of the temple town chanting slogans like 'Jai Shriram'. Hundreds of them have been putting up at the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) office here.

According to the VHP, over two lakh people, including prominent seers and saints from across the country would be attending Sunday's 'dharm sabha'. The 'sabha' would be held at Bada Bhaktmal Bagia on the 'Parikrama Marg' (the road on which the devotees making round the town walk).

Anticipating a large crowd, the local administration has made elaborate security arrangements here. Vehicles were not being allowed in the town, which has been sealed and barricades have been erected at entry points.  

Sources said that despite the assurances by the local administration that there was no cause for worry, people here have stocked essential items apprehending trouble in the town. ''We have stocked essential items...any thing can happen here any time,'' said Surendra Kumar Tripathi, a resident of the town while speaking to DH.

Sources also said that the prices of vegetables and fruit had increased substantially in the past few days as people started stocking the items. A vegetable vendor in Chowk area of Faizabad (now Ayodhya) admitted that the prices had shot up in the last couple of days.

Ayodhya administration said that adequate security arrangements had been made to ensure that law and order was maintained during the VHP event on Sunday. PAC and central para military forces also had been deployed in the town along with the state police, officials said.

Officials said that no large groups would be allowed to enter the disputed complex. ''Devotees will be allowed to pay obeisance at the make-shift Ram Temple in small batches of four-five,'' said a senior police official here.

Sources said that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held a high level meeting in the state capital with senior officials to review security arrangements in Ayodhya.

Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Akhilesh Yadav has demanded deployment of army in the temple town to ensure compliance of the supreme court's order for maintaining status quo at the disputed site.

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