Communal tension in Faizabad-Ayodhya defused, police on alert


Lucknow : Communal tension in the twin towns of Faizabad-Ayodhya over the location of two Durga Puja marquees and a religious procession was defused Saturday, a police official said, but the Uttar Pradesh administration remained on alert.

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Uprooting of Durga Puja pandals at two sites in Faizabad, where there is no history of such events, led to tension over the past 24 hours, police said. Organisers maintained they were armed with a high court order granting them permission to put up a puja at those particular sites.

Moreover, the organisers had insisted on taking out a procession through a communally sensitive locality though they were denied permission, police added.

Local authorities said the permission was denied due to a government order that clearly disallowed any new religious activity in order to maintain communal harmony.

Removal of the pandal provoked leaders of the district Durga Puja committee to lodge their protest by suspending the puja at all other sites in the twin towns.

They accused the Mayawati government of succumbing to “undue influence” of the minorities and threatened not to resume puja at other places too.

Senior officials then held prolonged parleys with the organisers and the tempers were brought down.

The organisers agreed to shift the puja venue and to take out the procession on a route that would not pass through the minority-dominated locality to avoid any direct confrontation.

Faizabad senior superintendent of police R.P.S. Rathore said: “There are as many as 775 Durga Puja pandals and about 150 Ramlila sites in this district, so we are extremely wary of allowing anything new that could arouse tension between communities.”

“The tension has been defused and things are now fully under control,” he added.

Meanwhile, police deployments have been enhanced across Faizabad district to maintain a round-the-clock vigil and keep a tab on any simmering communal tension in view of the festive season.

Ayodhya is the town where the 16th century Babri Mosque was razed by a frenzied mob in December 1992, claiming the spot where it stood was the birth place of Lord Ram.