The streets of Ayodhya are filled with right-wing activists who have poured in from various parts of the county for a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) grand event Sunday to push for construction of a Ram Temple here, even as security has been heightened in the temple town to maintain law and order.
VHP's Dharma Sabha is being touted as the largest congregation of Ram bhakts in Ayodhya since the 1992 kar seva, with the Hindu outfit claiming a large number of people will attend it.
The Dharma Sabha commenced in the temple town Sunday afternoon with senior leader Champat Rai declaring that no formula dividing the disputed land will be acceptable for temple construction.
Addressing the Sabha after the inauguration marked by chanting of mantras and lighting of lamp, the international general secretary Champat Rai said "we want the entire land for temple construction...no formula dividing the land is acceptable."
Though Rai did not spell out the details, his assertions are considered to be in reference to the Allahabad High court verdict dividing the land into three parts.
The Allahabad High Court had ruled by a majority verdict that the disputed land in Ayodhya be divided equally into three parts among Hindus and Muslims and that the place where the makeshift temple of Lord Ram exists belongs to Hindus.
In their separate judgements on the sensitive 60-year old title dispute on Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid structure, Justices S U Khan and Sudhir Agarwal said that the area under the central dome of the three-domed structure where Lord Ram's
idol exists belongs to Hindus.
The Dharma Sabha congregation is happening less than two weeks ahead of the 26th anniversary of the demolition of the 16th century Babri Mosque, that had triggered unrest in this pilgirm town and riots in other parts of India.
The spectre of 1992 still haunts many people of both the communities who had directly or indirectly suffered in the violence that had erupted after the Mughal-era mosque was razed by a frenzied army of 'kar sewaks' (right-wing activists) on the fateful day of December 6.
The VHP has claimed that three lakh people, including seers, will attend its 'Dharma Sabha' to be held at Bade Bhakt Mal Ki Baghia, not far from the controversial Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas-run workshop, where work for building a temple has been underway since 1990.
An uneasy calm prevailed in Muslim-dominated areas like Dharam Kanta, and the mega event has triggered some apprehension over the safety of the town's Muslim community.
Meanwhile, a senior police official said security has been stepped up in Ayodhya, in view of the VHP event and the presence of a large number of Shiv Sainiks in town.
"We are prepared to meet all challenges, all arrangements are in place in the town, the district and its border area to avoid any untoward incident. We are keeping a tight vigil and security around Ram Janmabhoomi site has also been stepped up," the senior official told PTI.
Chants of 'Jai Shri Ram' rent the air in the streets and around Saryu River, where the Yogi Adityanath government has also planned to install a 151-m statue of Lord Ram.
Mahant Dharamdas, a prominent seer in Ayodhya said: "The Supreme Court should heed to the sentiments of these people who have arrived in Ayodhaya today, with a pious belief that a Ram temple will be built soon."
Security was also beefed up at Lakshman Qila on Saturday where Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was welcomed after his arrival in Ayodhya.
The Sena claimed to have brought several thousand supporters to Ayodhya for Thackeray's events.
Arriving here ahead of Sunday's VHP rally for a Ram temple, Thackeray asked the Narendra Modi government to wake up from a "Kumbhakarna-like slumber" and declare the date for its construction.
"There is no political motive behind my visit to Ayodhya," he claimed.
The Sena chief was greeted with slogans of "Jai Shri Ram" when he arrived in Ayodhya with his wife Rashmi and son Aditya.
Mahant Nrityagopal Das, the chairman of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, was among those who welcomed Thackeray at Lakshman Qila, where the Sena leader made the remarks. A drone monitored the event.
The streets of Ayodhya are awash with saffron colour as flag-bearing activists camped at 'akharas' moved around in various parts of the city, and held informal gathering.
But, many in Ayodhya are miffed over these events, which seek to whip up communal frenzy.
Aman Kumar, a stone craftsmen when asked about the current situation surrounding the controversial temple issue, said: "People of Ayodhya, of all communities, have always lived in peace. It is outsiders and politicians with agenda, who come to our town and vitiate the atmosphere."
Although there is heavy security deployment, many were violating the prohibitory orders in place with hundreds of thousands of Ram Lalla followers converging to the temple town, police said.
There are 48 companies of the provincial armed constabulary (PAC) and 15 companies of para-military forces deployed on all major roads and intersections.
Barriers have been put up on busy thoroughfares to ensure that crowd control is easy in case of any untoward incident.
Close circuit cameras have been installed at more than 150 places in the twon along with drone-mounted ones hovering over the streets to keep an eagle eye on the surging crowds.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray who is in Ayodhya, on Sunday the BJP government at the Centre "may not last" if the Ram Temple is not constructed at Ayodhya and demanded that an ordinance be brought in to pave for its way, warning that emotions of Hindus should not be taken for granted.
The Shiv Sena chief, who offered prayers at the Ram Lalla temple, said "days, years and generations are passing by but the temple has not being constructed".