Sunday, March 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

No relaxation in security
Army asked to stand by in Ayodhya
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

Ayodhya, March 9
The assurance given by Minister of State for Home Affairs I.D. Swami here yesterday about relaxation in security arrangements fell flat with no let up in security arrangements coming about here today.

The district administration insisted that there won’t be any relief till instructions in this regard were communicated to them in black and white.

Even as the local people were forced to put up with checks and search operations by the para-military forces deployed here, there was a lot of confusion over reports of the Uttar Pradesh administration requesting Defence Minister George Fernandes for the deployment of the Army in this temple town ahead of the March 15 deadline given by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to shift carved pillars to undisputed land for the construction of Ram temple.

While Faizabad district Magistrate B.P. Mishra refused to say anything about the security arrangements, District Commissioner Anil Kumar Gupta clarified that so far there was no relaxation in the security arrangements made by the administration.

On February 28 the district administration was asked by the Central as well as the state governments to prevent any kind of build up in Ayodhya and prevent any attempt to disturb the status quo at the disputed site.

Following this order, the District Magistrate imposed Section 144 CrPC here and necessary security arrangements were made and same arrangements were still continuing, Mr Gupta said.

When his attention was drawn to the announcement made by Mr Swami, who paid a visit here yesterday to assess the situation, that some relaxation would be made and trains to Ayodhya would be resumed, Mr Gupta said, “I can’t comment on what the Minister stated.”

“We have not got any written instruction for any kind of relaxation in the present security arrangements”, he said.

Mr Swami had said there would be some relaxation in security arrangements to help the local people, who were inconvenienced due to the restrictions imposed, and some trains to Ayodhya would be resumed.

Asked about the possibility of the deployment of the Army in Ayodhya, Mr Gupta said the District Magistrate had through a letter dated March 5 had asked the Army to remain on alert, if it was needed at some point of time.

He did not ask for the deployment of the Army, but merely requested it to remain alert, Mr Gupta said, adding that I don’t think such a situation would arise as we had adequate deployment of central forces besides the local police.

On the resumption of train services to Ayodhya, Mr Gupta said neither he nor the Northern Railways officials had any intimation about the resumption of train services.

As the March 15 deadline is fast approaching, the district administration has further tightened the security arrangements. Crack commandoes, mounted police and riot police have been deployed at all strategic points and even the vehicles in which journalists are moving in the city are being searched by the security personnel.

Meanwhile, the District Magistrate, the Commissioner along with the City Magistrate today personally reviewed the security arrangements in and around the disputed site to plug any loopholes in it.Back


Govt to abide by SC order on puja: PM
Tribune News Service

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee with senior leaders
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee with senior leaders of the All-India Organisation of Imams and Mosque at his residence in New Delhi on Saturday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, March 9
In a significant statement, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said today that the government would do as per the directions of the Supreme Court on VHP’s programme to carry out “bhoomi poojan” in Ayodhya. The VHP was to meet on March 13.

Addressing a delegation of the All-India Organisations of Imams at his residence this evening, Mr Vajpayee said a conducive atmosphere for an expeditious resolution had been created because of two factors.

Elaborating, the Prime Minister said one was the commitment given by the VHP to honour the court’s verdict in respect of the disputed site in Ayodhya and the other was the mediatory role being played by the Shankaracharya of Kanchi which had helped boost the dialogue between the leaders of the two communities.

Calling the change in the VHP’s stand “a big development”, Mr Vajpayee urged the Muslim community to appreciate the significance.

“Earlier they were saying that they did not recognise the role of the judiciary in this dispute. Now they have changed their position on this matter. This has created a positive atmosphere”, he said.

Assuring that the culprits responsible for the violence in Godhra or elsewhere in the state , would be brought to justice, the Prime Minister said: “What has happened in Gujarat has sullied the reputation of India in the world”.Back

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