Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
Top Uttar Pradesh government officials flew to Ayodhya on Tuesday to take stock of the situation in the town following the Vishwa Hindu Parishad intensifying its movement to build a Ram temple there.
Besides 2,000 Central Reserve Police Force personnel who arrived there on Monday, 5,000 troops were said to be on their way to take up positions around the 71 acres of land around the disputed site acquired in 1993 by the central government.
"Our idea is to intensify security in and around the already well-barricaded land," Uttar Pradesh Principal Home Secretary Naresh Dayal told rediff.com
Reports from Ayodhya, 130km east of the state capital Lucknow, said VHP activists were arriving to participate in the purna-ahuti yagya, described as a prelude to construction of a temple at the site where the Babri Masjid once stood.
Significantly, Dayal and Director General of Police R K Pandit's visit to Ayodhya preceded the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi on Tuesday to discuss the matter.
"We went to take stock of the situation and I have sent my report to Delhi," Dayal said. "Things are well under control at the moment, but we have to remain prepared for any contingency."
He estimated the number of VHP workers gathered in the town so far at 12,000. "While most of the devotees are coming and going after participating in the yagya, some are staying back," he said. "I would put their figure at 10,000 at any given time."
Dayal refused to say, however, if the VHP's buildup had increased tension in the town. "Thousands of people are visiting the makeshift Ram temple under a strictly regulated security system in batches of 15 at a time," he said.
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