Babri anniversary observed, Pakistani flags burnt (Lead)December 6th, 2008 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS
Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh), Dec 6 (IANS) A group of Hindu sadhus, who had gathered here to mark the 16th anniversary of the Babri Mosque demolition Saturday, burnt five Pakistani flags to protest what they termed the Pakistan-sponsored terrorist attack in Mumbai.”We had planned to gather here to reiterate our long-pending demand for construction of a grand temple in place of the makeshift temple in which Lord Ram’s idol has been lying ever since the mosque structure was removed Dec 6, 1992. However, on second thoughts, we decided to also condemn the terror unleashed by Pakistan on our country,” said Sharad Sharma, a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) spokesman.
“And what could have been a better way to condemn than setting ablaze the flags of that country?” he added.
Indian authorities have maintained that the 10 terrorists, who attacked several placed in Mumbai Nov 26 and left 172 including 22 foreigners dead, had come from Pakistan, but Islamabad has said there is no evidence to back the claim.
Just as the green and white Pakistani flags were set afire at VHP’s Karsewakpuram complex, cries of “Pakistan murdabad” (Down with Pakistan) rent the air.
Leading a band of a few hundred saffron-clad sadhus, former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti gave a call for a “military attack on Pakistan”, that was echoed by all.
Prominent among those gathered on the occasion was Ramjanmbhoomi Trust chief Mahant Nritya Gopal Das.
“Fight back terrorists and attack Pakistan”, was the key slogan that reverberated for a while, even as troopers of the paramilitary Rapid Action Force (RAF) outside watched the closed gates of the Karsewakpuram.
When contacted by IANS for comments on the flag burning, Senior Superintendent of Police R.K.S. Rathore said: “I am not aware of anything of that sort. If they are doing anything within the four walls of their own private premises, it does not concern us.”
Earlier in the day, about 15 Muslims activists of the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) were arrested by police for staging a public demonstration to raise their long-pending demand for reconstruction of the razed 16th century mosque.
Even as tension prevailed for some time in the twin towns of Ayodhya-Faizabad, no untowards incident was reported from any part of the district.
The Hindu temple town of Ayodhya, believed to be the birthplace of Hindu god Ram, was turned into a virtually impregnable fortress on the 16th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri mosque.
The town was swarming with security personnel to thwart possible terror strikes, especially after the Mumbai attacks.
The entry points to the town were strictly guarded, while policemen in motor boats were patrolling the Saryu river that flows gently along this town.
on Dec 6, 1992, frenzied Hindu mobs demolished the Babri Masjid that was said to have been built on the debris of a 12th century temple built to mark the Hindu god’s birth. The razing of the mosque sparked off countrywide communal rioting leaving thousands dead. The Mumbai serial terror blasts in March 1993 were seen as a fallout of the mosque razing.
“We have deployed a dozen motor boats with more than 100 armed men to patrol the river round-the clock around Ayodhya and its twin town Faizabad as part of our stepped up vigil in the wake of the recent terror attacks in Mumbai,” district police chief Rathore told IANS earlier in the day.
He said: “As many as 700 additional armed policemen have been pressed into service since yesterday to maintain strict vigil in and around the Ramjanmbhoomi complex, which is under the surveillance of nearly 1,200 armed policemen.”
An estimated Rs.8.64 billion has been spent on the security of the complex since Dec 6, 1992.
The police guarded a heavily barricaded makeshift Ram temple that was hurriedly established over the debris of the mosque after its demolition.
The mosque was taken over by Hindus way back in 1935, after the mysterious appearance of Ram’s deity in the main hall of the mosque.