'Call in Army, BJP can go to any extent in Ayodhya'
NEW DELHI: As right-wing organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Hindu activists prep for a massive gathering in Ayodhya over the weekend to mount pressure on the government for a Ram temple at the site of the razed Babri mosque, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has urged the Supreme Court to send the army, if necessary, to keep the situation under control.
The mega show will coincide with a two-day visit to Ayodhya by Uddhav Thackeray, chief of Shiv Sena -- BJP's oldest ally and one of its sharpest critics.
From top to several mid-level police officers, 160 inspectors, 700 constables, 42 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), five companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF), Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) commandos and drone cameras have been deployed in Ayodhya.
"The BJP doesn't believe in either the Supreme Court or the constitution. The party can go to any extent. The kind of environment there is in UP, especially in Ayodhya, the Supreme Court should take notice of it and send the Army if necessary," said Akhilesh Yadav, the chief of the Samajwadi Party.
The Ram temple has been among the most-discussed subjects in India for decades and gains prominence during the election season.
The ruling BJP at the centre has been under immense pressure from its allies as well as ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to bring an ordinance or special order after the Supreme Court last month said it would take up the Ayodhya case only in January.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut questioned the centre over its delay in the construction of a Ram temple.
He said, "We brought down the Babri mosque in 17 minutes, so how much time for a law? Ram-bhakts (devotees) removed the blot that had been there for years, within minutes... toh kaagaz banane mein kitna waqt lagta hai (how much time does it take to draw up papers?)"
On December 6, 1992, the 16th century Babri mosque in Ayodhya was razed by Hindu activists who believed it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram.
Amid assurances from the BJP's national chief Amit Shah that Ram temple will be built and that there has been no change in the party's stand, some BJP leaders have suggested "if need be, 1992 would be repeated in Ayodhya on November 25".
Known for controversial remarks, BJP legislator Surendra Singh, warned, "If the situation so warrants, we will take law in our hands and ensure that the Ram temple is built at the very site -- constitutionally, legally or some other way."
RSS' Bhaiyyaji Joshi hoped that his visit to the makeshift temple of Lord Ram in Ayodhya earlier this week was his last "darshan" of the deity under a tent.
Even a Congress leader joined the chorus. Senior Congress leader Raj Babbar claimed that his party "was never opposed to the Ram temple and will never do so in future as well". "Everybody wants construction of Lord Ram's temple. I feel that now Muslims also want that temple should be constructed. But since the case is still pending in the Supreme Court, it (the court) will decide on the issue."