The city of Ayodhya stood awash in saffron on the weekend of 24 and 25 November, with the Shiv Sena, VHP and RSS holding different events to push for the construction of the Ram Mandir.While Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s two-day visit was replete with jibes at the BJP for not doing enough for to construct the temple, the VHP and RSS organised a show of strength in the form of the ‘Dharam Sabha’ on Sunday, attended by lakhs of workers.Though there was a build-up of tension before the weekend with Ayodhya turning into a virtual fortress, the next two days remained largely incident-free. Uma Bharti said that she appreciated Uddhav Thackeray’s efforts for Ram Mandir and appealed to all political parties to support the demandIn the context of the temple issue, Thackeray likened the Modi government to ‘Kumbhakarna’ who has been sleeping for the last four yearsAll India Muslim Personal Law board called the Ayodhya build-up an ‘open challenge to Supreme Court’Thousands of police and paramilitary personnel were deployed in Ayodhya over 24 and 25 NovemberWest Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee alleged on Monday that the BJP is "worshipper of (demon king) Ravana" and not Lord Ram.The Trinamool Congress supremo also said her party does not try to garner votes in the name of god.“They (the BJP) perform puja of Ravana and not Ram, they try to spread differences among people.” Mamata Banerjee at a public rallyMeanwhile, senior RJD leader Rabri Devi dared the BJP to go for temple construction at Ayodhya, following the demand made by right-wing organisations like RSS and VHP to take the ordinance route ignoring the Supreme Court's order.She slammed the BJP on the Ayodhya issue saying its nothing but their "poll gimmick" during election time.Cabinet Minister Uma Bharti on Monday said that she appreciates Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s efforts for Ram Mandir and appealed to all political parties to support the demand.“Yes, I appreciate Uddhav Thackeray for his effort. BJP doesn't have a patent on Ram Mandir, Lord Ram is of all. I appeal to everyone including SP, BSP, Akali Dal, Owaisi, Azam Khan, etc to come forward and support the construction of the temple,” she said.The 'Dharma Sabha' in Ayodhya aims to whip up "communal frenzy" ahead of the Lok Sabha elections next year, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad alleged Sunday, and said he will visit the temple town on Monday to urge the authorities to ensure that the rule of law prevails.Referring to the renaming spree of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, he said the Yogi Adityanath dispensation should rechristen Ayodhya to Saket, claiming it was the "name of the area during the Buddhist time".“What is happening in Ayodhya right now is nothing but another attempt by the BJP and the Sangh Parivar to whip up communal frenzy, instigate violence and then use the bloodshed to polarise voters to benefit the party in the 2019 elections.”Chandrashekhar Azad, President, Bhim ArmyThe chief of the Dalit outfit said, the country should be run according to the Constitution and whatever judgement the Supreme Court pronounces on Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit should be respected by all.But right-wing activists have descended at the temple town, "posing a threat" to law and order, he alleged.“So, I will visit Ayodhya on Monday, and I will carry a copy of the Constitution with me. I will also meet the district magistrate, and remind him that the rule of law should be ensured, and things should not be allowed to get out of hand.”Terming VHP's "Dharm Sabha" and visit of Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackerey to Ayodhya an open "challenge" to Supreme Court, All India Muslim Personal law Board (AIMPLB) on Sunday said a situation is being created against the Muslims, PTI reported.“It is not the matter of giving a mosque but its a matter of principle that how many mosques will we have to sacrifice gradually. If we talk to someone, it will withdraw and another one will come.”Maulana Wali Rehmani, AIMPLB General Secretary "Sri Sri Ravishankar had offered that we should construct a big mosque outside Ayodhya. But later he cornered himself. Just imagine, what had happened, we entered into an agreement with him," AIMPLB General Secretary Maulana Wali Rehmani said told PTI.“VHP’s dharm sansad and visit of Thackerey and similar such programmes, a situation is being created against Muslims and its also an open challenge to the judiciary (SC).”On Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh yadav's statement that Army should be brought in Ayodhya, Rehmani said "his demand is not unjustified especially keeping in mind the role of the state police and biased action against Muslims."“In such a scenario, it seems Akhilesh is disappointed with the police and has demanded deployment of Army there. Government will be responsible for communal tension, if any.”The Additional Director General of the area confirmed that the law and order situation in Ayodhya is under check. He said that the security has been divided into a red zone, a yellow zone and two main security zones.“State government, state police and administration are committed to uphold the directions by the Supreme Court and High Court.”Anand Kumar, ADG (law and order)He also said that heavy deployment of CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces), PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary), ATS (Anti-Terrorism Squad) has been done.“Drone cameras are being used to assess the crowd. Thirteen parking spots have been designated, 2,000 buses from various places have come to Ayodhya,” he said.He also spoke about information that the police had received about an attack on Ayodhya.“We received an alert by the IB (Intelligence Bureau) a few days back, it was a non-specific alert. Action is being taken. People from intelligence agencies under state, government and centre have been deployed there and are monitoring the situation,” he said, reported ANI.Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)'s national vice-president Champat Rai has started addressing a gathering in Ayodhya over Ram Temple issue. The sabha is presided over by RSS Sarkaryawah Krishna Gopal.“The mobilisation you see today, is just from 45 districts of Uttar Pradesh. Some intelligent people of this country need to be reminded that the issue of Ram temple didn’t end on 6 December 1992,” Rai said. “Everyone's going there due to elections. Who stopped Uddhav Thackeray from going there in past 4-5 years? On one hand, they're friends with BJP and on the other they want to tell people they're interested in constructing Ram Temple and are pressurising the government. People won't be fooled,” Congress leader M Kharge said.Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on Sunday disapproved of the Shiv Sena's push for constructing a Ram temple here, saying the party had no role in the temple movement.Maurya's remarks came a day after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray asked the BJP-led NDA government to declare a date for the construction of the Ram temple."There is no problem in Uddhav Thackeray catching a glimpse of Ram Lalla... But, had Balasaheb Thackeray been alive, he would have prevented Uddhav from doing whatever he is doing,” Maurya told PTI on the phone.“The Shiv Sena had no role in the temple movement or even in the Dharam Sabha, though Balasaheb Thackeray would support the Vishwa Hindu Parishad,” he said.He said Uddhav Thackeray should take the VHP, "which is leading such a large-scale movement, along with his party. There is no point creating a divide"."If you (BJP) had to go to a court (on the issue of Ram temple), then you shouldn't have raked up the matter in your election campaigns and manifestos. You should have clearly said that 'bhaiyyon aur behno’, please forgive us; this is yet another jumla by us. I have come to tell you not play with the sentiments of Hindus." said Thackeray in Ayodhya.Continuing his criticism of the ruling BJP, Uddhav Thackeray, while in Ayodhya said that the ruling party should stop playing with people’s sentiments.“I have come here to send across the message to the ruling party that they should stop playing with people’s sentiments. This BJP government is quite strong, they can take up the initiative of construction easily. But Ram temple will definitely be constructed even if this government remains in power or not.” Uddhav ThackerayThackeray also went on to say that he was upset that the temple had not been built yet, asking when it would finally come up. He further urged for the construction of the temple.“Saints who blessed me yesterday, I'd told them that the work which we're about to begin can't be done without their blessings. I've no hidden agenda in coming to Ayodhya. I've come to express sentiments of all Indians and Hindus across world. All are waiting for the Ram Temple”, said Thackeray at the media interaction.Indian Trans, Intersex and Gender Nonconforming (T/IS/GNC) individuals and groups have issued a response, strongly condemning the Kinnar Akhada's call for a Ram temple at the Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya.“The issue of building a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Ram at his supposed birthplace in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, breeds communal tension because this alleged birthplace is the location of a 16th century mosque, the Babri Masjid.... The establishment of the Ram Temple has been a favourite electioneering agenda that the current government has repeatedly used to mobilize votes and stir anti-Muslim sentiments among Hindu masses.”StatementCommunist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that the campaign by VHP and Shiv Sena is an attempt to "nullify the provisions relating to secularism in the Indian Constitution". "We strongly oppose this effort to subvert the judicial verdict on the Ayodhya dispute. The Sangh Brigade cannot be allowed to subvert the Constitutional provisions in the name of faith," he said, reported News18.“There's enough law & order machinery available. I'm quite sure the govt being that of BJP, unlike other parties, will ensure that law and order is maintained”, said MoS MEA, VK Singh on Akhilesh Yadav's statement that 'Army should be brought in Ayodhya if required’, reported ANI.Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has returned to the hotel after visiting the Ram Lalla temple earlier on Sunday, 24 November, reported ANI.Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and son Aditya have left to pray at disputed Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya, reported News18. Shiv Sena supporters are present in large numbers as the Thackerays are set to arrive at the site.“We’ve made all the arrangements for the programme. We’ve allotted spaces for parking, bypass is running smoothly and we’ll ensure it stays like that. ‘Darshan’ will be from the usual routes. We’ll do everything in an organized way”, said DIG Ayodhya, Omkar Singh regarding the event of the day in Ayodhya, reported ANI.A three-layer security detail is in place in the temple town, with a special vigil around the disputed complex. Senior officials from Lucknow are camping in the temple city, reported Hindustan Times. Thackeray is scheduled to go for a darshan of Ram Lalla, interact with the media and later with the public, while the VHP has organised a ‘Dharam Sabha’ on Sunday.Security has been tightened in Ayodhya on Sunday, 25 November, ahead of the separate events of Shiv Sena and VHP being organised in the city over the matter of the Ram Temple, reported ANI.UP CM Yogi Adityanath on Saturday called for a meeting with the director general of police (DGP), principal secretary home, ADG (law and order), and other officials at his residence to discuss the Ayodhya issue, reported ANI.The Aligarh Muslim University Students' Union has sought the Supreme Court's intervention as the VHP is holding a ‘Dharam Sabha’ for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya on Sunday, despite the case being sub-judice.The AMUSU at a press conference on Friday announced that they were writing to the chief justice of India, the Uttar Pradesh governor and the chief minister regarding threat to law and order in the state in view of the VHP’s ‘Dharam Sabha’.“Already an atmosphere of fear prevails in different parts of the state since people are fearing that if the VHP proceeds with their temple construction programme, it would definitely disturb the peace in the state.”AMUSU secretary Huzaifa AmirHe said by challenging the jurisdiction of the SC in this matter, the Centre and the state government would be held morally accountable in case there is any breakdown in the law and order situation.The AMUSU has urged the CJI "not to allow the forces of disruption to play around with the Constitution of India on the pretext that the temple issue is a matter of faith and goes beyond the jurisdiction of the country's existing legal system”.(PTI)Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray launched a fresh offensive against the BJP over the Ram temple issue on Saturday, likening the Modi government to ‘Kumbhakarna’ who has been sleeping for the last four years.“Every Hindu wants the Ram temple to be constructed here. I have come to wake ‘Kumbhakarna’ up. Earlier, ‘Kumbhakarna’ used to sleep for 6 months, today he’s been sleeping for the last four years.”Uddhav ThackerayCalling an ordinance for the construction of the Ram temple, which the Shiv Sena would support, Thackeray sought to remind the Modi government that they have a comfortable majority, unlike the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.Saying that his party will support any efforts to bring an ordinance for the construction of the Ram temple, Thackeray“Day, months, years and generations have passed. Mandir wahin baneyenge, par date nahin batayenge (You say you will make the temple there, but won’t tell the date).”Uddhav Thackeray, as quoted by PTI“First say when will you construct the temple, the rest we will talk later,” he said in what sounded like a dare to the BJP government ahead of next year's Lok Sabha elections.In an attack on the BJP over the Ram temple issue, the Shiv Sena on Saturday said those talking about it had kept Lord Ram in "exile" in Ayodhya, despite being in power at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh, reported PTI.Without naming the BJP, the Shiv Sena likened it to 'Kumbhakarna', a character from the epic Ramayana mythicised for his long sleeping spells.Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is in Ayodhya to wake "Kumbhakarna" from his "deep slumber" to set the ball rolling for the temple's construction, the party said.The Shiv Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, claimed that the sentiment among Hindus, now, was "first temple and then government".“The promise of constructing the temple was given in each election; the temple, however, has not yet been created despite those talking about it being in power at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh. Lord Ram has gone into exile in Ayodhya itself. This is the biggest betrayal. Those who came to power being Ram devotees have turned into Kumbhakarna.”Saamana editorial, as quoted by PTIThe Muslim litigant in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, Iqbal Ansari, on Saturday said he was satisfied with the security arrangements in Ayodhya ahead of the VHP 'Dharam Sabha', but questioned the intention of the leaders in bringing such large crowds to the town."If anyone has any issue on the matter of temple-mosque, he/she should go to Delhi and Lucknow to express their views," Ansari, who succeeded his father late Hashim Ansari as the main litigant in the case, told PTI."They can gherao the (Uttar Pradesh) Vidhan Sabha or Parliament if they want but leave the people of Ayodhya in peace," added Ansari as he cast aspersions on the intentions of those encouraging people to gather at the temple town and "posing problems" for the locals.The security around Iqbal Ansari’s house has been increased, with the road leading up to his house being sealed.Shiv Sena chief is visiting Lakshman Kila in Ayodhya where he would be meeting with sadhus and mahants and seeking their blessings.Ahead of the ‘Dharam Sabha’ being held in Ayodhya on Sunday, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has said if required the Army should be deployed in the town, reported PTI.Talking to reporters Friday, Yadav had said:“The Supreme Court should take notice of the situation in Uttar Pradesh. It should seriously consider the matter and bring in the Army, if required... as the BJP and its allies can go to any extent.”Akhilesh YadavUttar Pradesh Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya dismissed Yadav's claims, saying his remarks simply showed his frustration as it was a ‘Dharam Sabha’ and the Army was not needed for it.When asked that a significant section of the Muslim community was feeling apprehensive about the event, he tried to allay the fears.“No one needs to fear (anything) as there is peace in Uttar Pradesh. The government has made elaborate security arrangements to ensure that no untoward incident takes place.”UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya to PTIReferring to the firing on unarmed karsewaks in 1990, Maurya said, "If Akhilesh Yadav is thinking that a 1990-like situation will prevail, then this will not happen under the government headed by Yogi Adityanath. We will provide adequate security to all and take all necessary action.""This is a ‘Dharam Sabha’, and there is no need to deploy the Army, and Akhilesh Yadav must understand this," the UP deputy Chief Minister said.Yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Saturday, 24 November, said people have lost patience as they want the early construction of the Ram temple. Ramdev, during a brief with news agency ANI, said a law needs to be brought in ‘else people will start building the temple on their own’.“I believe there is no opposition to Ram in the country. All Hindus, Muslims and Christians are his descendants,” said Ramdev.Vinay Katiyar, the founding president of Bajrang Dal and BJP leader, on Saturday said the government "can’t do anything" regarding the Ram temple since the matter is in the Supreme Court.Katiyar, who was speaking to news channel ABP, claimed the government should bring in an ordinance for the early construction of the Ram temple.Calling the Congress party as the ‘biggest hurdle’, the BJP leader alleged that the Congress is halting the construction of the temple.Uttar Pradesh Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar during a brief with news agency, ANI alleged that despite the imposed Section 144 in Ayodhya, the state administration is letting people gather in large number, implying that it has failed.Backing the claims of Samajwadi Chief, Akhilesh Yadav, Rajbhar said that the army should be deployed to Ayodhya for safety measures.“Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is interested in election campaigning when section 144 is imposed in Faizabad (Ayodhya). The kind of crowd that has gathered there... its responsibility will lie with the CM,” he said.Bahujan Samajwadi Party supremo Mayawati, while attacking the Bhartiya Janata Party on Saturday, said the ruling party is raising issues on the Ram temple to hide its failures.“To divert attention from their failures, they raised the Ram Mandir issue. Had their intentions been good, they (BJP) needn't have waited five years. It's their political tactic and nothing else. Whatever their associates like the Shiv Sena and the VHP are doing is part of their conspiracy,” she said.Mayawati further alleged that the BJP, who will complete five years at the Centre, is playing 'the Ram temple card' due to the approaching Lok Sabha polls in 2019.Over 1 lakh RSS workers and 1 lakh VHP workers will be heading towards Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, ahead of Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to the disputed site of Ram Janmabhoomi.Contingents of sadhus and seers are also expected.According to reports, VHP organisers have claimed that they are preparing three lakh food packets for Sunday’s event where Hindu far-right workers, sevaks and sainiks are being brought together for a massive and belligerent show of strength months before the Lok Sabha election of 2019 in a big push to the BJP government at the Centre to move on the RamShiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday left from his residence in Mumbai.He will reach Uttar Pradesh's Ayodhya today for a two-day visit. VHP and Shiv Sena will hold separate events in the city tomorrow over the matter of Ram Temple.Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray will be visiting the disputed site of Ram Janambhoomi in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, on Saturday, 24 November. He is expected to discuss early construction of Ram Temple, Hindustan Times reported.Thackeray will perform a maha aarti on the banks of the Saryu river in Ayodhya at 5 pm and hold a press conference later. We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.