Ayodhya: Both Muslim and Hindu religious leaders are talking about downplaying the anniversary of the demolition of the Babri mosque, now that the Supreme Court has pronounced its verdict on the Ayodhya dispute.

While the police are taking no chances – an official said the security arrangement in the temple town are similar to those ahead of the SC judgment day – religious organisations have assured that the December 6 anniversary will be low key.

While right-wing Hindu organisations earlier “celebrated” the day when a mob pulled down the structure on the disputed site, some Muslim groups mourned it. This time, although the AIMPLB said “a day of sorrow” would be observed, it added that “it is up to the individuals”.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has too decided against observing the 27th anniversary of the demolition as “Shaurya Diwas”. “Yaum-e-gham (day of sorrow) will be observed, wherever it was observed last year.

And, it is up to individuals to observe it or not,” senior AIMPLB office-bearer Zafaryab Jilani said. VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma said, “There will be no public function. People may light earthen lamps in various temples. Seers are also of the view that truth has triumphed so there is no relevance of the celebrations.”

On November 30, Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas chief Mahant Nritya Gopal Das too had appealed against observing “Shaurya Diwas”, saying there was no relevance left for it after the apex court verdict. Maulana Shafique Alam of Terhi Bazaar Masjid, which is in close proximity to the Ramjanmabhoomi, on Thursday said Friday prayers would be held in the mosque at 1 pm.

“Around 150-200 Muslims are likely to attend it,” he said. Recalling developments on November 8, a day before the apex court gave its verdict, Shafique Alam said, “There are around 40-50 Muslim families in this area, of which 30 had sent their womenfolk to other places. Some financially well-off people too shifted ahead of the Supreme Court judgment.”

“Most of them returned after November 14. There were no clashes, but people were feeling sad over the judgment. I too had gone to my native place in Bihar’s Gaya and returned on November 19,” he said, adding that police were very helpful. He, however, blamed “outsiders” for vitiating the atmosphere of Ayodhya, saying his Hindu neighbours were very nice.

“Even during marriage or any other celebrations in their households, they switch off the music system during namaaz,” he said.

Meanwhile, security is tight in the temple town with a senior Uttar Pradesh Police official saying the arrangements are similar to the plan they had devised for November 9, the day the apex court pronounced verdict on the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute.

“The security plan for December 6 will be a continuation of the plan we had devised for November 9,” Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) PV Ramasastry told PTI, adding that the precautions taken by them were the same they had adopted on the judgment day.

Ayodhya SSP Ashish Tiwari said the entire district had been divided into four zones, 10 sectors and 14 sub-sectors. “As many as 78 sand bag posts have been established with armed policemen posted there. Barriers have been put in place to control traffic. As many as 269 police pickets have been set up in sensitive areas,” Tiwari said.

The SSP added that 305 troublemakers had been identified and action was being initiated against them. Apart from this, nine quick response teams have been deployed. “To combat any emergency situation, five arresting parties have been formed in addition to 10 temporary jails,” he said, adding that anti-sabotage teams were checking hotels, dharamshalas and other public places. He said people had been appealed to immediately inform police about any suspicious activity or people. The public had also been asked not to fall prey to any rumour mongering and maintain harmony, he said.

“Stress has been laid on confidence-building measures,” the SSP said, adding that they had contacted saints, traders and academics in this regards.
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