Tuesday, October 14, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

VHP leaders go underground
More than 10,000 activists detained

Lucknow, October 13
More than 75 companies of the CRPF reached Ayodhya to step up security as Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders went underground today to evade arrest ahead of their October 17 programme to press for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site.

VHP sources said its proposed demonstration here and in Delhi on October 15 and 16 would be a low-key affair and senior VHP leaders were likely to sneak into Ayodhya secretly and would surface on the D-day.

BJP sources said the “Ram bhakts’’ would try to enter Ayodhya in small groups and breach the security cordon to hold a symbolic programme on Friday.

The Uttar Pradesh Police yesterday detained 50 ‘Ram bhakts’ from Nepal who had entered Bahraich district of the state to join the VHP’s proposed programme at Ayodhya.

Altogether, more than 10,000 VHP supporters have been detained in different parts of the state by the police and sent to makeshift jails. Various college and school grounds and bus depots have been converted into temporary jails.

The state government had already banned the entry of unauthorised people in Faizabad district since yesterday while buses and trains bound for the twin city have been re-routed or terminated at Lucknow itself.

VHP media in charge Sharad Kumar said that the organisation was committed to proceed with its “darshan’’ programme. More than 100,000 “Ram bhakts” would be visiting eight temples of the town. They would later participate in a meeting in Karsewak Puram, he said.

Inspector General of Police (Lucknow Zone) V.N. Rai said the majority of the Central paramilitary forces would be deployed at Lucknow and Ayodhya where the VHP was to hold its programmes.

Faizabad district borders had been sealed but there would be no restriction on the movement for the common man, said the IGP.

He said the state government would enforce the Allahabad High Court’s directive to maintain status quo at Ayodhya.

The residents of Ayodhya, meanwhile, criticised the VHP for having created a situation whereby they had to live with frequent restrictions and security checks.

“As elections approach, the VHP’s love for Ayodhya increased,’’ they asserted. They also criticised the Centre for not being serious on preventing the Ram bhakts from reaching Ayodhya on October 17.

Police sources here said strict vigil had been mounted on the Indo-Nepal border following the arrest of 50 Nepal citizens bound for Ayodhya yesterday.

The police clampdown on the VHP activists continues as 1300 more of its members were arrested on the wee hours of Monday to thwart VHP’s proposed October 17 programme at Ayodhya, officials said. A large number of arrests were made in Bahraich, Allahabad, Basti, Gonda and Jhansi, the Home Secretary, Mr Dipti Vilas, told reporters here on Monday.

In a late night swoop, the police on Sunday arrested over 800 VHP activists in Allahabad who were planning to go to Ayodhya. Over 125 VHP workers, including 35 women, were arrested at Kanpur railway station while 51 Ram bhakts were detained at Ayodhya railway station.

The Chief Secretary of the State, Mr Akhand Pratap Singh said that the VHP had not so far sought permission to organise its programme in Ayodhya or in Lucknow. “The government can give permission to the VHP to hold meeting, if it promises to hold its programme peacefully as per the directives of the High Court.”

He said that if need arose, the government would be forced to take stringent actions against VHP.

“Ram bhakts are being detained at different parts of the state and they would be released after October 17 programme,” he said.

Meanwhile, residents of the twin cities of Faizabad and Ayodhya resented the stringent security measures. “There is a restriction on movement of people inside city ... police check posts have been set up, creating problems for common man,” Mr V.N. Arora, a teacher in Saket Degree College in Faizabad said.

“Though the government claims supply of essential commodities would be maintained, yesterday evening there was a shortage of milk as the para-military force did not allow even the milk vans to enter the city,” he said. — UNI, OC


VHP attacks PM, Mulayam
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 13
Making a frontal attack on Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, the VHP today warned that the country could plunge into “communal violence” if the Centre and Mulayam Singh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh prevented Ram bhakts from reaching Ayodhya on October 17 for peaceful ‘darshan’ of Ram Lalla.

“It is a legal, constitutional and democratic right of Hindus to have a darshan of Ram Lalla...the Vajpayee government and Mulayam Singh government should allow Ram bhakts to reach Ayodhya. Otherwise, if any untoward incident takes place and the country plunges into communal violence, the Prime Minister and Mr Yadav will be responsible,” VHP general secretary Pravin Togadia told newspersons here.

A visibly angry Togadia wanted Mr Vajpayee to clarify whether he was in favour of respecting the fundamental rights of Hindus to have darshan of Ram Lalla or in favour of suppression of Hindus.

Asked if his statement amounted to threatening the government, Mr Togadia shot back saying “I am only apprising the government of the situation.”

To a question why he was only attacking the Prime Minister and sparing Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, who is also in charge of the Home Ministry, from criticism, the VHP leader said “since Mr Vajpayee is the head of the government, he is directly responsible for any atrocity on Hindus.” “Mr Vajpayee should decide whether he is supporting Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav or the Ram bhakts...People will not tolerate any double standard,” he said.


Sena to VHP: build temple or withdraw

Lucknow, October 13
The Shiv Sena today challenged the VHP to start construction of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya immediately and said if the parishad felt “incompetent” towards this end, it should withdraw from the temple movement and let the sena spearhead the cause.

Speaking to newspersons here, Uttar Pradesh Shiv Sena chief Vijay Tiwari claimed the Sena would get the temple constructed within a year which the VHP could not achieve during the past 11 years. “We are prepared to sacrifice our lives for the cause,” he asserted.

He claimed the VHP had collected crores of rupees which the parishad should utilise at the earliest by starting work on the Ram Temple immediately. — UNI

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