Thursday, October 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Allow VHP programme, Advani asks Mulayam
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 15
Even as tension mounted in Ayodhya, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today asked Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav to allow ‘Ram bhakts’ from all over the country to visit the ‘Ram temple’.

In a teleconversation with Mr Yadav, who was at Bhopal, Mr Advani said the Centre had allowed the ‘Ram bhakts’ to proceed, keeping in view the assurances given by various RSS and VHP leaders that the October 17 programme would remain peaceful, sources said here.

Mr Advani also said the government had specifically deputed Minister of State for Home Swami Chinmayanand to coordinate and help ensure a peaceful atmosphere during the programme at Ayodhya.

Mr Yadav is understood to have told Mr Advani that he would speak to the officials concerned in Lucknow after his return from Bhopal.

Meanwhile, thousands of ‘Ram bhakts’ from all over the country, braving blockades and arrests, continued their march towards Ayodhya for the October 17 ‘sankalp sammelan’ even as various political and religious leaders warned the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh Government to restore train and bus services to allow the ‘Ram bhakts’ to pay obeisance at the ‘Ram temple.’

Terming the Centre’s move to restore normal movement of trains to Ayodhya in tune with its commitment to the larger goal of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan warned the Uttar Pradesh Government against adopting confrontationist postures by preventing ‘Ram bhakts’ from reaching the temple town.

“The present actions of the state government are provocative, unwarranted and confrontationist. We urge the state government to act in line with the actions of the Central Government and withdraw all those measures that are creating hurdles for ‘Ram bhakts’ to reach Ayodhya,” Mr Sudarshan said.

Yesterday, in a teleconversation with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he said the Uttar Pradesh Government should trust the commitment given by the VHP that the programme would be completed peacefully and pursue the path of restraint and non-confrontation.

In a statement, Mr Sudarshan said the RSS had extended its support to the VHP’s ‘sankalp sammelan’ with the commitment that it would be a peaceful and constitutional programme to demonstrate the popular urge for a magnificent Ram temple at Ayodhya.

Mr Sudarshan also appealed to the leaders of the Ayodhya movement to maintain utmost restraint in their articulation and activities so that the programme passed off peacefully, enhancing the prestige of the movement as well as the organisations that were leading it.

Swami Chinmayanand, himself a VHP activist, meanwhile, said the Centre would do everything possible to avoid confrontation and law and order would remain its top priority.

Meanwhile, in a show of strength, thousands of ‘Ram bhakts’ gathered at the Ram Lila Maidan here and pledged to reach Ayodhya at any cost for the October 17 ‘sankalp sammelan’.

Addressing the gathering, various VHP leaders, dharmacharyas and sants warned the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh Government against any confrontation.

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