Wednesday, November 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

VHP yajna thwarted
80 activists detained
From Our Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Nov 14 — The Delhi police detained 80 activists of the VHP when they tried to perform yajna on the premises of Quwwat-ul Islam mosque near the historic Qutab Minar in South Delhi.

A large number of VHP activists led by Mr Ram Krishan Gaur gathered near Qutab Minar today, where the mosque is located, to perform puja inside its premises. But their entry inside the mosque was prevented by tight security, the police said.

They performed yajna on the road when they were refused to enter the mosque to perform puja before an ancient idol of Lord Ganesha.

The VHP sought permission for puja on the premises of the mosque from the Archaeological Survey of India but it was refused.

The VHP activists including a few women, sat on the road near the mosque and tried to perform yajna, following which they were detained under Section 65 of the Delhi Act (refused to follow lawful directions), the police added.

After Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya, Krishna Janmabhoomi in Mathura, and Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, this is the fourth shrine whose possession the VHP is seeking.

UNI adds: Those arrested included Delhi VHP leader and convenor of the yajna programme Mr Ram Krishan Gaur, co-convenor Vijay Chauhan, VHP Margadarshak Mandal chief Mahant Naval Kishor Das, Delhi Bajrang Dal leader Satinder Mohan and VHP media in charge Ajay Devgun.

Mr Gaur, however, claimed that about 150 activists, including several sants were arrested. He said the agitation would continue and they would perform the proposed yajna on Ganesh Chaturthi every month unless the government allowed the Hindus to perform regular puja at the site where the ancient Vishnudhwaha temple along with 26 other Hindu and Jain temples was destroyed in the 12th century to build the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque.

The Mehrauli police had cordoned off the entire Qutub Minar area yesterday in apprehension of violence because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The yajna programme was jointly announced by the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and the Delhi Sant Mahamandal.

Mr Gaur said while the government had allowed regular prayers in the mosque, it had not granted permission for the appointment of a Hindu priest to carry out daily worship of the idols.

Idols of Ganesha, Kartikeya, Shiva, Parvati and Krishna still feature on the walls of the mosque, he said, adding that these idols have been partly broken.

Meanwhile, taking strong note of the development, eminent Muslim leader Syed Shahabuddin today cautioned the government that Muslims would not tolerate “the beginning of another Ayodhya”.

Mr Shahabuddin, who is president of the All-India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, said the majlis had already been protesting against the puja being performed at a corner of the outer wall of the mosque and the plan for “a full-fledged yajna” was fraught with serious consequences.

Mamata at it again

CALCUTTA, Nov 14 (UNI) — Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee today threatened to quit the NDA government at the Centre if steps were not taken to protect the rights of the minorities.

Addressing the national convention for the uplift of Muslims, here, the firebrand leader expressed concern over the treatment meted out to the minorities in different parts of the country even after 53 years of Independence and advocated for their overall uplift.

The Trinamool Congress chief observed her party was committed to the betterment of the minorities and would not hesitate to snap ties with the Vajpayee government if the minorities were deprived of their rights.

Coming down heavily on the critics for her party’s alliance with the BJP, branded as a communal party, Ms Banerjee said she still reposed faith in the Prime Minister in this “critical matter”, but hastened to add that the Trinamool Congress and the TDP would come out from the government at the Centre if the faith was lost. 


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