24 February 2024
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In October, Ayodhya resident Ram Kishor crossed the road in front of his house and stood in front of a black metal gate – the entrance to a newly opened luxury tent business in the town’s Durahi Kuwan locality. The guard at the gate heard his request to enter the property and refused immediately.

Kishor did not want to check in. He canot afford the Rs 11,000 nightly tariff. He only wanted to look at the dozen or more trees that stand inside the property.

“I had planted them myself in 1988 when I was a young man,” said the 65-year-old wistfully. “I only wanted to see if they were in good health.”

There were not just trees on the plot. For more than three decades, Kishor also grew flowers, which he sold to earn a living. His neighbours, the Madhukars, did the same. More than 30 people depended on this plot, merely a hundred metres away from the Ram temple that is scheduled to be inaugurated in January. The flowers fetched Kishor Rs 10,000 a month, crucial for the survival of his joint family.

On August 23, government officials told Kishor that the district administration would take over the property, measuring three quarters of a…

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Abdul Gh Lone