Thursday, November 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

EC bans VHP yatra
Parishad threatens to defy order
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 13
Apprehending that the proposed VHP yatra in Gujarat will incite communal flare-ups in the state ahead of the December 12 Assembly elections, the Election Commission (EC) today directed the state government to prevent the yatra scheduled to begin on November 15.

In a brief order to the Gujarat Government following a full Election Commission meeting here, it said the state government should take all measures under the law to prevent any such yatra or procession and display and use of images which incite communal tension.

Preventive and punitive action should be taken against individuals, parties and organisations indulging in communally incendiary and provocative speeches or distributing posters and pamphlets that incite communal tension, it said.

“The commission has noted with utmost concern the report of the state administration in Gujarat conveying that there is every likelihood of communal tension and passion getting exacerbated by the proposed yatra planned by VHP from November 15,” the commission in a press note said here.

The commission has also noted with concern that the proposed yatra would involve the use of replicas of the F-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express burnt by miscreants on February 27 and the likelihood of “communally provocative and intemperate speeches” being made during the yatra.

The state administration has stated that the possibility of a law and order problem arising in the wake of the proposed yatra cannot be ruled out.

“In view of this, the proposed VHP yatra should not be allowed to take place,” the press note said.

The decision of the commission comes after deliberations of the three-member election panel led by Chief Election Commissioner J. M. Lyngdoh and comprising Election Commissioners T. S. Krishnamurthy and B. B. Tandon along with other senior commission members here.

The commission, which visited Gujarat on November 11 and 12, had directed the state government to submit a report on the proposed Hindu padpadshahi yatra of the VHP after several NGOs and politicians belonging to the Congress and other parties had expressed apprehension over communal flare-ups during the yatra.

Presiding over the meeting here today, Mr Lyngdoh reviewed the law and order situation and the proposed security arrangements in the state during the campaigning period, election day and also on counting day.

The CEC hoped that the deployment of adequate Central forces would help maintain law and order in the state, sources said.

Reacting to the EC order, VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore questioned the jurisdiction of the Election Commission to pass such an order on religious activity.

“The Election Commission has been all along taking anti-Hindu actions and the VHP will defy its order....We (VHP leaders) will meet soon and deliberate on the EC order and chalk out our plans,” Mr Kishore told The Tribune.

“I think it is out of way for the Election Commission to interfere in religious matters...The VHP is not a political party, so it does not fall under the purview of the Election Commission,” he added.

According to VHP sources, the parishad might decide to go ahead with the yatra defying the order and if the state administration prevents it then its cadre will court arrest to lodge their protest.

Meanwhile, the BJP refrained from making an official statement today on the issue, saying, “the party would study properly the EC order and then react.”

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |