Tuesday, March 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

VHP adamant on plan
PM holds talk with Shankaracharya
Tribune News Service

Mahant Paramhans, Mahant Ramvilas Vedanti and VHP leader Ashok Singhal at a Press conference
Mahant Paramhans, Mahant Ramvilas Vedanti and VHP leader Ashok Singhal at a Press conference in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, March 4
As part of the efforts to end the Ayodhya impasse, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee tonight held consultations with Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Sri Jayendra Saraswathi.

The pontiff met the Prime Minister after holding wide-ranging discussions with the VHP top brass and other Hindu religious leaders, who have vowed to go ahead with shifting of carved stones to ‘Ram Janmabhoomi site’ in Ayodhya on March 15.

However, in an apparent posturing, the VHP leaders and members of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas maintained that they would go ahead with the shifting of carved pillars to site at Ayodhya on March 15 and criticised the restrictions imposed by the government on the town.

Mahant Aviadya Nath of Gorakhpur and Mahant Nrityagopal Das, Vice-President of the Nyas, spared no words in accusing the Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for “backtracking” on his promise to remove hurdles and for imposing restrictions on the movement of Ram sevaks in Ayodhya.

The Hindu leaders, who addressed a Press conference along with Nyas President Mahant Paramhans Ramchandra Das and VHP leader Ashok Singhal, asserted that they would go ahead with their proposed programme.

Earlier, the leaders began talks with the pontiff at the Sankara Mutt here after a meeting at the VHP headquarters.

The leaders, who met the “Seer”, included Mahant Paramhans Ramchandra Das, VHP International Working President Ashok Singhal, Senior Vice-President Acharya Giriraj Kishore and General Secretary Praveenbhai Togadiya.

At the VHP meeting, the leaders expressed their desire to go ahead with the March 15 programme “even if symbolically”.

Mr Singhal announced that the construction would begin within 100 days of the “purnahuti yajna” which began on February 24.


Kar sevaks defy ban

Ayodhya, March 4
Defying prohibitory orders, about 100 kar sevaks, mostly women and children, today took out a symbolic march in Ayodhya.

The kar sevaks, assembled in the temple city, took out the march this morning from Kar Sevak Puram, a camp set up for them, to another camp Ram Sevak Puram, covering a distance of about half a kilometre, and back, sources said.

VHP sources said the kar sevaks would take out another march tomorrow.

The march was taken out a day after the authorities put up public notices outside the two camps informing the imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC, banning rallies and demonstrations. Significantly, the notices were no more on the walls and were apparently torn off.

The police seemed to take the development lightly as a senior official said the effort of the authorities was to prevent the kar sevaks from coming on to the main roads.

Meanwhile, a batch of 75 kar sevaks were today transported out of Ayodhya the government-provided vehicles, ADGP (Law and Order) A.K. Mitra said.

He said there had been no fresh arrivals of kar sevaks during the past two days “although they are making attempts”.

“We are keeping a close watch. While they are trying to reach here, our effort is to prevent them,” he said.

The VHP, however, dismissed this and claimed that at least 75 kar sevaks from Maharashtra had reached Ayodhya since last night.

“The state government is following one line of action — not to allow build-up of kar sevaks in Ayodhya. It may be peaceful but there is potential of things going out of control,” Divisional Commissioner A.K. Gupta said here.

“There is a possibility of a terrorist attack here as there are some reports in this regard,” he said. PTI

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