Ayodhya returns to normal life after tense weekend over Ram temple dispute
It was the business as usual in Ayodhya on Monday, after an event-full, eventuality-free weekend with beaming school children hurrying to their schools, traders briskly hawking their wares and residents animatedly speculating on the impact of Shiv Sena and VHP rallies here on national politics.
"For the first time ever, I experienced no Monday Blues, as I was eagerly waiting to meet my friends and know their views about yesterday's VHP dharam sahba," said Bhaskar Singh, a resident of neighbouring Ambedkar Nagar, who had come to Hanumangarhi temple here to offer prayers, and to catch up with his friends.
He seemed to heave a sigh of relief to find the temple town "completely peaceful" after days of the tense build-up of fears and excitement over the VHP's 'dharam sabha' Sunday.
"The city seemed to be completely peaceful. I had absolutely no problems in navigating the lanes and bylanes of the city to visit Hanumangarhi, Karsewakpuram and other attractions," said Singh, adding he was at the VHP's 'dharam sabha' venue 'Bhaktmaal ki Bagia' on Sunday.
"I left for home about an hour before the programme got over," he said.
Brajesh Kumar who works at a hotel in the busy Rekabganj area of the district said, "It was a usual Monday morning. All the eateries are open. The medical shops are selling the medicines."
"At some shops the customers' queues were rather long. The vegetable market was also buzzing. I found the city absolutely peaceful," he said.
After inauguration of the 'dharam sabha' of Ram bhakts amid holy "shloka" and "mantras", seers after seer Sunday sought to impress upon the Union and state governments the growing clamour for building a grand Ram temple at the Lord's 'janmnhoomi' Ayodhya without any delay.
Mahant Ramdas of Nirmohi Akhara in response assured the seers and all attending the 'dharam sabha' that dates for building the temple would be announced early next year during Kumbh in Prayagraj.
"It is only a matter of few days and I request you all to show some patience," he counselled the congregation.
Describing the massive congregation as the proof of people's aspiration for a Ram temple in Ayodhya at the earliest, Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas chief Nritya Gopaldas urged both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to pave way for construction of the temple.
Reverberating with the chants of "Jai Sri Ram" , Ayodhya stood awash Sunday in saffron, with all lanes and bylanes of the city, leading to the VHP congregation venue decked up with fluttering flags, banners and buntings of the same colour.
As Lord Ram devotees, sporting saffron robes and head gears proceeded to the 'dharam sabha' venue amid slogans of "har ghar bhagwa chaayega, Ram rajya phir ayaegaa", they were showered with flowers petals.
With the VHP congregation remaining peaceful, the local Muslim residents either did not seem upset.
Ayodhya Zila Panchayat member Babloo Khan, who has emerged as a key Muslim protagonist of Ram temple movement too batted for the shrine along with his supporters.
"Ayodhya is the crucible of the composite Ganga-Jamuni culture. All Muslims of the temple town want the Ram temple here," he claimed.
Ram Bhadracharya, a Hindu seer, meanwhile, claimed he had met a senior Union minister on November 23 and the minister assured him that the Ram devotees will not be deprived of their deity's temple here.
He claimed the minister told him that once the Model Code of Conduct comes to an end after the declaration of results of the ongoing assembly polls, the prime minister will take a decision on the crucial issue of opting Ordinance route to build the temple.
(With inputs from agencies.)