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Security tightened in Ayodhya
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | December 05, 2006 12:21 IST
Security has been tightened in and around Ayodhya, the ancient Hindu temple town in north India where the demolition of a 16th century mosque 14 years ago on December 6, had triggered communal violence across the country.
"We cannot take any chances, so we requisitioned six additional companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary -- which is about 500-strong -- to be deployed at all strategic points," District Magistrate Amod Kumar told rediff.com.
He said, "Though there is no report of any threat, we have taken certain preventive measures like issue of orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedural Code, prohibiting assembly of more than four persons at any public place in and around Ayodhya."
About 2000 armed cops guard the disputed shrine at any given time.
The moghul mosque was pulled down on December 6, 2002 by Hindu zealots who believed that the mosque was built after the demolition of an ancient Hindu temple that stood at the site to mark the birthplace of Lord Ram.
Even as rival groups planned symbolic celebrations as well as protests on Wednesday, it was amply evident that both would remain like annual rituals.
No prominent leader -- either from the vociferous Hindu hardliner groups or from any Islamic fundamentalist body -- proposes to be in or around Ayodhya on Wednesday.
In keeping with their respective tradition of staging a symbolic glorification of the demolition, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad will observe shaurya diwas (Victory Day) at their camp -- Karsewakpuram, while the Babri Masjid Action Committee will observe 'Black Day' by holding a protest rally in Faizabad, where its volunteers would also court arrest.
VHP chief Ashok Singhal proposes to hold a Hindu meeting in one corner of the walled city of Lucknow, barely 120 km from Ayodhya. His second-in-command Praveen Togadia had decided to keep away from Uttar Pradesh.
According to local VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma, "Shaurya diwas celebrations would be led by Ayodhya's most prominent sadhu mahant Nritya Gopal Das."
The mahant also heads the Ramjanmbhoomi Trust entrusted with the mission to build a grand temple at the disputed site.
Kashmiri terrorists targeted the makeshift temple on July 5, 2005.
The security forces acted in time and killed all six suicide bombers.