Monday, October 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Faizabad sealed off
100 paramilitary units rushed, trains diverted

Ayodhya, October 12
The police today sealed off Faizabad district shortly after restricting the movement of buses and trains to the twin cities of Ayodhya and Faizabad, in view of the VHP’s proposed congregation here on October 17.

The Uttar Pradesh Government today detained more than, 1000 people heading for the temple town even as the saffron outfit went ahead with preparations for the programme as Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav sought Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s help to resolve the impending “crisis.”

Mr Vajpayee, back from a foreign tour, told reporters in Delhi that the VHP should be trusted in its claim that it would hold the meeting peacefully even as the state government sought 100 companies of paramilitary personnel from the Centre to check VHP activists.

Reports from Kanpur said 185 VHP activists, including 35 women, were arrested at the Kanpur central station.

GRP sources said the group of activists, coming from Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, was trying to board the Rapti Sagar Express in Kanpur to go to Ayodhya.

The Additional District Magistrate, Faizabad, Mr Narendra Singh Patel said here that the restriction on traffic had been strictly enforced and all entry and exit points to the district had been sealed.

Nobody was being allowed to enter the district without a valid pass. He said even those who managed entry into Faizabad, would, in no circumstances, be allowed to move to Ayodhya. All three-wheelers and taxis running in Ayodhya and Faizabad had been stopped.

The roads virtually remained deserted after security personnel took charge of the area. and even the residents shied away from stepping out of their homes.

Meanwhile, Faizabad Commissioner and in charge of the disputed site and the acquired land here J.P. Sharma said the Sabarmati Express would terminate at Lucknow instead of Faizabad, while, Doon Express has been re-routed via Sultanpur instead of Ayodhya-Faizabad.

He said the traffic restrictions would remain in force till October 17. Only roadways buses were being allowed to enter Faizabad, he added.

LUCKNOW: The Centre has rushed over a 100 companies of Central Para-military Forces (CPMF) to Uttar Pradesh to beef up security arrangements in and around Ayodhya in the wake of the VHP’s proposed Ram darshan programme on October 17.

Over 75 companies of the Central forces had reached Ayodhya while the rest are on their way from other states, and would be deployed latest by tomorrow.

Inspector General of Police (Lucknow Zone) V.N. Rai here today said the focal point of deployment of Central forces would be at Lucknow and Ayodhya where the VHP is likely to hold its programmes. He said altogether 115 companies of Central forces would be available to the state government, with 15 companies already deployed in the temple town on a permanent basis.

The IG said security measures had been tightened at Sultanpur, Gonda, Ambedkar Nagar and Azamgarh districts to prevent any untoward incident.

The central forces would mainly be deployed at six districts, called the “Blue zone,” adjoining the Faizabad district, which are Barabanki, Sultanpur, Gonda, Basti, Bahraich and Gorakhpur.

Meanwhile Mr Akhand Pratap Singh, Chief Secretary of the state, said today that 200 VHP activists from Gujarat, were arrested in a late night swoop in Jhansi station, 300 km west-south of Lucknow.

“The Ram sevaks were forcibly disembarked from the train and were taken to makeshift prisons. They were denied food and women were forced to sleep in open,” Ved Prakash Sachchan, a senior leader of Bajrang Dal, said today.

He said that despite all preventive steps taken by government, the Ram sevaks would reach Ayodhya on the designated day. The VHP leaders expect that over 3 lakh people, drawn from different parts of the country, would reach Ayodhya.

The Chief Minister appealed to the BJP leadership to withdraw the Sangh Parivar’s proposed Ram Darshan programme at Ayodhya on October 17.

“I appeal to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, his Deputy Lal Krishna Advani and Union Minister of State for Home Swami Chinmayanand to withdraw the programme at Ayodhya to avoid harassment of the common people,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Ayodhya, preparations were on at VHP’s headquarters here at Karsevakpuram for religious sermons by dharmacharyas beginning tomorrow. A massive pandal was erected for the meeting of Ram Bhaktas at Naya Ghat which, VHP media in charge Sharad Sharma said, could be used as an alternative for the October 17 programme. — OC, UNI, PTI

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