Monday, March 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

CRPF flag march in Ayodhya
Senior VHP leaders go underground
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

CRPF jawans during a flag march
CRPF jawans during a flag march in Ayodhya on Sunday. — PTI photo

Ayodhya, March 10
Five days ahead of the proposed ‘bhoomi pujan’ on the undisputed land for the construction of Ram temple here, tension has started building up here. Local VHP leaders have gone underground triggering speculation over their possible indulgence in regrouping of Ram sevaks for the proposed puja on March 15. At the same time the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) staged a flag march to avoid any untoward incident.

The Faizabad district administration, which has thrown a thick blanket of security in the Temple Town to prevent entry of Ram sevaks here, today further tightened the security arrangements and deployed armed personnel around Karsevakpuram and the VHP workshop, where pillars for the proposed Ram temple are being carved.

As part of the security drill, the CRPF personnel staged a flag march in Ayodhya to instil confidence among the people. Anti-riot armoured vehicles and fire tenders formed part of the convoy of over 150 vehicles carrying the security personnel, which passed through the main lanes and bylanes of this pilgrim centre.

Local BJP MP Vinay Katiyar, who was spitting venom against the drastic measures taken by the local administration, is understood to have left for Lucknow to interact with senior BJP and VHP leaders there while several local VHP leaders, including the outfit’s spokesman Sharad Sharma, who was till yesterday interacting with the Press, went underground.

The local officials believe that the VHP leaders could indulge in regrouping kar sevaks for the proposed symbolic puja on March 15.

As the March 15 deadline is fast approaching, both the local people and the administration officials seem to be under confusion and are keeping their fingers crossed. “We are not astrologers to predict what will happen on March 15. We have taken security measures to prevent the build up of kar sevaks here and avoid any alteration in the status quo of the disputed site as per the instructions of the Central and state Governments”, Mr Anil Kumar Gupta, Faizabad Commissioner told The Tribune.

Meanwhile, Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas (RJN) President Mahant Ramchander Das Paramhans expressed dismay with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and the VHP for agreeing to abide by the court orders.

“What does Mr Vajpayee mean by saying that even symbolic prayers in Ayodhya would be subject to a green signal by the Supreme Court,” the Paramhans asked angrily and accused the Prime Minister of talking like the Babri Masjid Action Committee. He was also worked up over the government’s latest move to deploy the Army in the temple town, considered by Hindus to be the birthplace of Lord Rama. “It is very unfortunate that far from keeping his word, the Prime Minister is now sending the Army here,” he said, adding that Hindus are being squeezed from both ends.

He said the curfew like conditions in Ayodhya had prevented people from moving freely in the town and also led to acute scarcity of essential goods, with both trains and road transport being totally suspended. He also accused the VHP leaders, especially Mr Ashok Singhal for giving in writing that the Hindu outfit will abide by the court verdict on the disputed site.

“If the court verdict is against the Hindu faith then how can we accept? That is why I did not put my signatures in the letter to Prime Minister,” the Paramhans told The Tribune.

The Paramhans asserted that he will not participate in any symbolic puja, as proposed by Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, who was brokering between the VHP, Nyas and the government on the issue, saying the demand of the RJN for handing over the undisputed land was not unreasonable and that he would fight till the Ram temple was constructed.

“I believe in peaceful resolution of the Ram Temple issue and I don’t want to shed even a drop of blood of Hindus or Muslims. But, if the government at the behest of the minority community tries to scuttle our temple movement then we will show them what we can do. How long they (government) will have this kind of security here?”

The Paramhans wondered. “The deadline given by us is valid till March 12...I hope good sense prevails with the Prime Minister.”Back

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