Rajat Sharma


rajat-sir More than seven lakh devotees thronged Ayodhya on Tuesday to perform prayers before the idol of Ram Lalla in the newly constructed temple, throwing security arrangements in a tizzy. There was a stampede-like situation and chief minister Yogi Adityanath had to rush to Ayodhya within 45 minutes to guide senior officials on how to handle the surging crowds. There were only 8,000-odd policemen to control the crowd of devotees who had surged not only from different parts of Uttar Pradesh, but also from other states of India. The Principal Secretary (Home) and Director General (Law and Order) were sent to control the situation. On Wednesday, there was improvement in the situation, as large crowds of devotees, despite biting cold, took dip in the Saryu river and started ‘darshan from 6.15 am onwards. Meanwhile, the borders of Ayodhya town have been sealed and bus services from Lucknow and other cities to Ayodhya have been temporarily suspended to stem the rush of devotees. To control the entry of devotees inside the temple premises, several entry gates are being manned for frisking and allowing entry. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has appealed to devotees to exercise patience. He has requested devotees coming from outside the state to defer their visit to Ayodhya by at least ten days in view of surging crowds. India TV team of reporters found a sea of humanity on Ram Path, the main thoroughfare leading to the temple, with devotees pouring in from as faraway places as Chennai, Nashik, Bhopal, Rameshwaram, Kolkata, Guwahati, Haridwar and Jaipur. At all the four main gates of Ram temple till Lata Mangeshkar Chowk, huge crowds of devotees had gathered in queues to gain entry. The 75-year-old tiny idol of Ram Lalla has been installed just below the new consecrated idol on the golden throne. The first ‘aarti’ of Ram Lalla was performed as per Ramanandi tradition on Tuesday morning. A new 47-page manual has been issued outlining in detail the rituals to be performed on a daily basis for Bhog, Prasad and Aarti. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had an inkling that a massive crowd of devotees would land in Ayodhya to have ‘darshan’ of Ram Lalla idol in the new temple. Two days ago, he had appealed to the public, with folded hands, to avoid coming to Ayodhya either in vehicles, or on foot, but plan their visit in leisure, so that every devotee can have a ‘darshan’ of Lord Ram’s idol peacefully. But given the huge surge in enthusiasm among millions of Indians eager to visit the shrine, the collection of crowds was a foregone conclusion. The temple has been built only a few days ago and the Pran Pratistha (consecration) rituals took place on Monday. All the arrangements made in Ayodhya were made only recently. The state administration had no idea about any lacunae that may have taken place in planning or about what to do to control the surge of massive crowds. Senior state officials had no such inkling. This led to a stampede-like situation and both devotees and the local administration had to face difficulties. Credit should go to Yogi Adityanath, who after watching the surge of crowds in Ayodhya, immediately took a helicopter, surveyed the area within 45 minutes, and then sat with top officials to bring the situation under control. This is Yogi’s typical style of working which commoners in UP like.

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