VHP to go ahead with yatra; over 200 activists arrested
By PTI | Published: 24th August 2013 08:06 PM |
In a crack down on VHP on the eve of its proposed controversial yatra, over 200 activists of the saffron outfit have been arrested by the UP government, even as the outfit has decided to go ahead with the march.
The preventive arrests were made by the authorities, who are fearing communal flare up in the area due to the VHP's proposed 'Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama', which was banned by the state government.
The ban was on Saturday upheld by the Allahabad High Court also.
Meanwhile, the VHP, which held a meeting after the High Court verdict earlier this morning, has resolved to go ahead with the yatra at the scheduled time from Sunday.
"There is no change in the programme and it would start as per the schedule from the Saryu ghat tomorrow (Sunday) after the puja archana," VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma told PTI.
The arrests were made in different parts of the state and those nabbed included Mahant Santosh Das alias Sathu Baba, a VHP office bearer in Varanasi.
62 persons were arrested in Faizabad, 46 in Agra, 63 from Kanpur city, 17 in Fatehpur, 18 from Basti, 7 in Jaunpur and one in Banda, home department spokesman said in Lucknow.
Elaborate arrangements have been made throughout the state, specially in the six districts through which the yatra would pass, with section 144 being put into force.
Other district authorities have also been asked to take steps so that law and order is not disturbed.
Principal Secretary (Home), R M Srivastava held video conference with police officers of the six districts and took stock of the situation, besides giving them directives to maintain utmost vigil in their areas and accord required respect to those who are being arrested as a precautionary measure.
DGP Devraj Nagar said that officials of the six districts have been asked to "strongly impose the ban" on the yatra.
"The DGPs of the adjoining states have been asked to inform in case people from there try to come to take part in this yatra," Nagar said adding that intelligence units and other agencies have been instructed to promptly inform in case of any wrong activity in their areas.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, on the sidelines of a government function, termed the yatra as "a conspiracy of some people to spoil the communal atmosphere of the state".
"Some people want to take out a yatra which will not be of any help to the people... this is a conspiracy to harm the atmosphere," Yadav said without taking any names.
VHP spokesman has termed as "totally unjustified" the ban on the yatra.
Assuring that the saints would not disturb peace, Sharma said the yatra would move ahead as a religious march and if the government takes action against the saints, they would deal with it as they want.
Meanwhile, SSP Faizabad K B Singh said that no activities, including opening of shops, will be allowed in Naya Ghat area of Ayodhya, where the disputed site is located.
The Naya Ghat area falls under Ramgarhi police station of the city.