Ayodhya: Participants at the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) event in Uttar Pradesh's Ayodhya
There is no need to deploy the Army in Uttar Pradesh, Union Minister VK Singh said today, responding to former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's concerns over the two big Ram temple themed events organised by the Shiv Sena and the right wing group Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Ayodhya.
"I don't think there is any need for the deployment of Army in Uttar Pradesh as there is enough law and order machinery available there. And I am sure that the BJP government, unlike other parties, will ensure that law and order is maintained," the Minister of State for External Affairs told news agency ANI.
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had asked the Supreme Court to send the Army, if necessary, to keep the situation under control, after seeing VHP's massive mobilisation in the days before today's event. "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," Mr Akhilesh had said.
The VHP says three lakh people are attending the programme to discuss the way forward for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, where in 1992 the 16th-century Babri Masjid was destroyed by lakhs of right wing volunteers or karsewaks.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is also in Ayodhya since Saturday. He warned the centre that unless the temple is built, the BJP would find itself out of power.
An Uttar Pradesh police spokesperson said 35 senior police officers, in addition to 160 inspectors and 700 constables, have been deployed in Ayodhya. Forty-two companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary, five companies of the Rapid Action Force and several anti-terrorism squad commandos have also deployed. They are being supported by drones.
Muslims have raised concern over the rising pitch of the right wing campaigns in Ayodhya. A comment by Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Friday had raised brows: "We demolished the Babri masjid in 17 minutes, how much time does it take to draw up papers? If you talk about an ordinance, then from the President's House Rashtrapati Bhavan to Uttar Pradesh, it is BJP all the way. What else do you want?"
With inputs from ANI