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Right-wing activists gather in Ayodhya, high security in temple town, at Ram Janmabhoomi site

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Ayodhya

Ayodhya | The streets of Ayodhya are filled with right-wing activists who have poured in from various parts of the county for a VHP grand event on Sunday to push for construction of a Ram Temple here, even as security has been heightened in the temple town to maintain law and order.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s ‘Dharma Sabha’ is being touted as the largest congregation of ‘Ram bhakts’ in Ayodhya since the 1992 ‘kar seva’, with the Hindu outfit claiming a large number of people will attend it.

The congregation is happening less than two weeks ahead of the 26th anniversary of the demolition of the 16th century Babri Mosque, that had triggered unrest in this pilgirm town and riots in other parts of India.

The spectre of 1992 still haunts many people of both the communities who had directly or indirectly suffered in the violence that had erupted after the Mughal-era mosque was razed by a frenzied army of ‘kar sewaks’ (right-wing activists) on the fateful day of December 6.

The VHP has claimed that three lakh people, including seers, will attend its ‘Dharma Sabha’ to be held at Bade Bhakt Mal Ki Baghia, not far from the controversial Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas-run workshop, where work for building a temple has been underway since 1990.

An uneasy calm prevailed in Muslim-dominated areas like Dharam Kanta, and the mega event has triggered some apprehension over the safety of the town’s Muslim community.

Meanwhile, a senior police official said security has been stepped up in Ayodhya, in view of the VHP event and the presence of a large number of Shiv Sainiks in town. “We are prepared to meet all challenges, all arrangements are in place in the town, the district and its border area to avoid any untoward incident. We are keeping a tight vigil and security around Ram Janmabhoomi site has also been stepped up,” the senior official told PTI.

Chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ rent the air in the streets and around Saryu River, where the Yogi Adityanath government has also planned to install a 151-m statue of Lord Ram.

Mahant Dharamdas, a prominent seer in Ayodhya said: “The Supreme Court should heed to the sentiments of these people who have arrived in Ayodhaya today, with a pious belief that a Ram temple will be built soon.”

Security was also beefed up at Lakshman Qila on Saturday where Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was welcomed after his arrival in Ayodhya. The Sena claimed to have brought several thousand supporters to Ayodhya for Thackeray’s events.

Arriving here ahead of Sunday’s VHP rally for a Ram temple, Thackeray asked the Narendra Modi government to wake up from a “Kumbhakarna-like slumber” and declare the date for its construction. “There is no political motive behind my visit to Ayodhya,” he claimed.

The Sena chief was greeted with slogans of “Jai Shri Ram” when he arrived in Ayodhya with his wife Rashmi and son Aditya. Mahant Nrityagopal Das, the chairman of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, was among those who welcomed Thackeray at Lakshman Qila, where the Sena leader made the remarks. A drone monitored the event.

The streets of Ayodhya are awash with saffron colour as flag-bearing activists camped at ‘akharas’ moved around in various parts of the city, and held informal gathering. But, many in Ayodhya are miffed over these events, which seek to whip up communal frenzy.

Aman Kumar, a stone craftsmen when asked about the current situation surrounding the controversial temple issue, said: “People of Ayodhya, of all communities, have always lived in peace. It is outsiders and politicians with agenda, who come to our town and vitiate the atmosphere.”

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Soldier killed as Pak army violates ceasefire along LoC in Rajouri

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Jammu| An Army soldier was killed when Pakistan violated the ceasefire by heavily shelling forward areas and posts along the Line of Control with mortar bombs in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district Thursday, officials said.

Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire in Keri belt of Sunderbani sector this morning, they said.

One soldier was was killed in Pakistani firing, they added.

Pakistani troops have violated the ceasefire over 110 times along the LoC since January.

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National

CRPF jawan kills 3 colleagues in J-K

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CRPF

New Delhi| Three CRPF personnel were killed Wednesday after a colleague allegedly fired at them after an altercation at their camp in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

 

The alleged fratricide incident happened at around 10 pm when constable Ajit Kumar shot three of his colleagues from his service rifle at the 187th battalion camp of the force in the Battal Ballian area in Udhampur, they said.

 

The officials said while three Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men were killed in the firing, Kumar also shot himself and is critical in a hospital.

 

Kumar hails from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh and was rushed to a military hospital nearby, they said.

 

The deceased have been identified as head constables Pokarmal R of Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan, Yogendra Sharma of Delhi and Umed Singh of Rewari in Haryana.

 

The incident is said to be triggered after the jawans had an altercation, they said.

 

Senior CRPF and police officials have rushed to the spot, they added.

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Vice president, PM greet nation on Holi

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Narendra Modi

 

New Delhi| Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday greeted people on Holi, saying the festival symbolises the victory of good over evil.

In his message, Naidu said, “Holi is a celebration of the victory of good over evil. It is a festival that expresses joy and camaraderie.”

 

Modi hoped that the festival of colours will bring peace, harmony, prosperity and happiness in our lives.

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