January 18, 2024
New land conflicts have arisen in #Ayodhya before the temple inauguration as residents allege unfair demolition & inadequate compensation in land acquisition for making the town ‘darshan-ready.’
The beautification drive of Ayodhya began in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to settle the decades-old Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute by handing the land to a trust to build the temple in 2019.
After the foundation stone for the Ram Temple was laid on 5 August 2020, PM Modi unveiled the entire area's residential, commercial, and religious development. About 1,200 acres of land were identified for the same.
There was opposition against demolition in 2021 by the shopkeepers/traders at the Hanuman Garhi road and the residents of Manja Barhata village filed a legal case against land acquisition due to which a project to install Lord Ram statue was temporarily stalled.
By April 2021, the Ayodhya Development Authority (ADA) received around 1,084 objections to Ayodhya Master Plan 2031. The maximum number of objections (250) were related to the Ayodhya airport project.
While the UP CM Yogi Adiyanath reportedly resolved acquisition issues through dialogue with landowners for the airport, the lands of Manjha Barhata villagers were forcibly acquired.
The villagers claimed that they were either given low or no compensation despite the Allahabad High Court's order in 2020 directing the UP government to follow due procedures under the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act of 2013.
Meanwhile, the Ayodhya administration started demolishing shops and houses in 2022 at Naya Ghat for the 13-km long Ram Path stretch widening project.
By 2023, it was reported that around 4,000 homes and shops were demolished. Most of them complained of not receiving any compensation, others claimed their compensation was severely inadequate.
A court case is also ongoing regarding the demolition of the minaret of an 18th-century Shia community mosque, Masjid Khajoor Wali, located in the town's Gudri Bazar in Ayodhya.
While devotees from across the country are rejoicing at the upcoming inauguration of the Ram Mandir on 22nd January, several residents of Ayodhya are complaining about the procedural violations in land takeover for remaking of the city.