Sunday, November 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Togadia’s entry banned
Cracks in VHP as sants not confided

Godhra, November 16
The authorities today banned the entry of VHP leaders Praveen Togadia and Acharya Dharmendra Maharaj here and set up a three-tier security ring to prevent their supporters from reaching the venue of tomorrow’s yatra even as the saffron outfit vowed to go ahead with the event, even as differences appeared within the VHP over the yatra. As VHP leaders mounted an attack on Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for backing the EC ban on the yatra, a defiant Togadia said in Ahmedabad that his organisation would go ahead with the planned yatra.

“We will continue our yatra in a peaceful and democratic manner to pay tributes to the Ram bhakts who died on February 27,” he said.

VHP leader Acharya Dharmendra said strict instructions had been issued to “our workers not to indulge in any kind of misbehaviour with the police during the yatra.”

He said the Prime Minister had lost the trust of Hindu saints and society by supporting the EC ban on the yatra.

Panchmahal District Collector Manoj Agarwal said Togadia has been prevented from entering the town to maintain law and order. He said all entry points into Godhra had been sealed.

Some preventive arrests had been made and preparations for the yatra at the Science College ground stopped, Panchmahal District Superintendent of Police Narshimha Tomar said.

He said one company of the RAF, eight companies of the State Reserve Police (SRP), 700 local policemen and police reinforcement from the adjoining district had been deployed at the Science College ground and other areas.

NEW DELHI: Differences surfaced on Saturday night within the VHP on the eve of the controversial yatra, with Swami Chinmayanand, member of its all-important Margadarshak Mandal, disapproving of the move and complaining that sants were not consulted in the matter In a letter to VHP leader Pravin Togadia, Swami Chinmayanand suggested that the VHP should drop the yatra programme in response to the Prime Minister’s appeal. PTI, UNI

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