The district administration has refused to grant approval to Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) led seers who on Monday demanded permission to lit “thousands of lamps” and do ‘puja’ at the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya on October 27 to mark the auspicious Hindu festival of Diwali.
The VHP on Saturday said that seers will light 5,100 earthen lamps at the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site on Diwali, but the Divisional Commissioner (DC) asserted no religious activity beyond the Supreme Court’s mandate on the issue will be allowed.
Faizabad Divisional Commissioner Manoj Mishra said: “Any type of new tradition will not be allowed at the disputed site. Only those religious activities will be allowed which are permitted by the apex court.”
According to the apex court’s order of January 7, 1993, any type of religious activity is prohibited inside the disputed site except the chief priest performing only routine prayers of the deity including the offering of food.
However, the delegation of seers from Ayodhya and VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma who met the DC and handed him a memorandum containing the demand argued that it would “hurt the religious sentiments” of Hindus if they could not light lamps on the “janmabhoomi premises”, even as Diwali, which Hindus believe marks the return to Ayodhya of Lord Ram after defeating Ravan in Lanka, is celebrated across the country.
Meanwhile, a Muslim litigant in the Ayodhya case, Haji Mehboob, has opposed the VHP’s demand to light ‘diyas’ and has demanded permission to offer namaz at the disputed site if VHP gets permission to celebrate Diwali on the complex.
Ahead of upcoming Diwali festivities and in anticipation of the verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi case which is expected in November, section 144 has been imposed across Ayodhya till December 10. The prohibitory orders prohibit an assembly of four or more persons across the district.
Supreme Court has been carrying out day-to-day hearing of the case and the arguments are to be concluded on 17th October. Diwali, the festival of lights which celebrates the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after spending 14 years in exile and defeating Ravan in the Hindu epic Ramayana, falls on 27th October 2019.