Ayodhya: The Liberhan Commission report might be
creating ripples in the corridors of power in New Delhi. And
preparations for the 17th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri
Mosque Dec 6 might also be in full swing. Yet, back on ground zero,
all appears to be quiet.
Everything appears to have come to a grinding halt at the workshop
in Ayodhya where stones were being cut, carved and chiselled for
giving shape to a proposed “grand” Ram temple in place of the
make-shift temple that stands on the debris of the mosque.
back in 2005, we completed the cutting and carving of all stones
required for the ground floor of the proposed two-storey temple;
since then we have been waiting for the stones to be formally
installed,” workshop manager Anubhai Sonpura told IANS.
“Pillars for the first floor were also ready, but the remaining part
of the construction of the ceiling and tower was to be carried out
at the site of the construction only; and that would not be possible
unless way was formally paved for the construction of the proposed
temple,” added Sharad Sharma, head of the local Vishwa Hindu
Parishad (VHP) unit.
Every inch of the sprawling workshop spread over an area of some
15,000 sq ft was packed with neatly sculptured pink Dholpur stone.
The additional space at the annexe of the workshop some distance
away was equally stuffed with stone pillars and motifs.
silence and solitude at the workshops was strange for those who had
seen the place bustling with activity amidst the groaning of special
stone saws, the resounding noise of the hammer and the chisel
incessantly beating at the stone slabs until a few years ago.
Incidentally, no cement mortar was proposed to be used in the
construction that was to be carried out with pre-fabricated stone
slabs and pillar to be wedged with each other.
goes on as usual on the lanes and bylanes of Ayodhya, where Dec 6
has become like any other day. The traditional observance of the
demolition anniversary as “shaurya diwas” (victory day) by the VHP
and “black day” by the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) was
nothing more than a ritual, rarely attended by more than a handful
for the past many years.
do not see any reason for any major event this time on Dec 6; the
Liberhan Commission report means nothing to the people of Ayodhya;
as long as outsiders are not allowed to incite trouble and provoke
people, this town prefers to move at its own pace,” Suphal Kumar,
owner of a thriving sweetmeat shop in Ayodhya’s main thoroughfare,
told a visiting IANS correspondent.
Saraswati Devi, who sells ‘puja’ articles along the road to the
makeshift temple, Dec 6 means poor business, as “the inflow of
pilgrims goes down on account of enhanced policing around that
According to Faizabad Senior Superintendent of Police R.P.S. Rathore,
“the makeshift temple draws anything between 500-1,500 pilgrims on
any given day, while on special religious festivals like Ram Navami,
the figure goes up several fold”.
Officials records confirm that the shrine has received as much as
Rs.36 million (Rs. 3.6 crores) ever since it was set up on the
debris of the 16th century mosque on the evening of Dec 6, 1992.
Sure enough, that speaks volumes of the attention that it receives
Rathore too does not deny that Dec 6 is known for low turnout of
pilgrims. “Deployment of cops is obviously increased on every Dec 6,
but we do not restrict anyone from visiting the temple; however,
what can we do if people avoid coming on their own,” he said.
“Though we have taken all necessary preventive measures to meet any
contingency, I see no reason for any enhanced activity this time,”
Liberhan panel report, which was tabled in parliament Nov 24, has
indicted members of the Sangh Parivar for demolition of the 16th
century mosque in Ayodhya. The vandalism and destruction triggered
communal riots across the country.
Sharat Pradhan can be contacted at