STATE TIMES NEWSAyodhya: More than five lakh devotees took a holy dip in the Saryu river on Kartik Purnima on Tuesday, the first religious congregation in the temple town since the historic verdict in the Ayodhya case, even as security forces intensified vigil across the city. People flocked to the ghats since early hours amid chants of ‘Sita Ram’ playing on loudspeakers in the streets while many devotees who came from neighbouring districts camped overnight near the river. “I took the holy dip at 2 AM. I have been coming here every Kartik Purnima for the last 20 years. The feeling of taking a holy dip on this day is totally divine, that is why we come here. And, this time it is more special as the Supreme Court verdict has just paved the way for building a temple for our Ram Lalla,” said 62-year-old Kolhai, a farmer who came from a village in Gorakhpur. Satish Pandey, 55, a farmer, cycled all the way from Gonda to Ayodhya to take a holy dip in Saryu, despite many asking him not to go to the temple town. “People in my village told me there is so much security in Ayodhya, movement has been restricted or regulated in many areas. But I had to come seeking blessings of ‘Prabhu Shri Ram’ on this auspicious occasion, and he’s my ultimate protector so I had no fear,” he said. Settling a fractious issue that goes back more than a century, the Supreme Court in a historic verdict on Saturday backed the construction of a Ram temple by a trust at the disputed site in Ayodhya, and ruled that an alternative five-acre plot must be found for a mosque in the Hindu holy town. This being the first Kartik Purnima since the landmark judgement, local authorities had made all arrangements amid a high security alert in the city. Ayodhya District Magistrate Anuj Jha said by the evening over five lakh people took a holy dip on the auspicious occasion. “People enjoyed the Kartik Snan amid festive mood. We had made all the arrangements in place and taken care of security too,” he said. A posse of security personnel were deployed along the ghats, while regular check-posts set up since November 8 night in the streets remained in place alongside patrolling parties on roads. The nearly 4-km stretch from the symbolic Ayodhya Dwar bordering Faizabad town to the main Ayodhya city still remained under tight watch with no public transport being allowed to go beyond that from the Faizabad side.
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