[Vishwa Samvad Kendra – Chennai] VHP: Massive Protest against ban of Parikrama Yatra August 25, 2013
, covering the scriptural/traditional spirituo-cultural boundary of Ayodhya which is also known as the 84-Kosi Parikrama. 84-Kosi Yatra is a tradition that has been there for thousands of years with the belief that it gives deliverance to the performer from the cycle of 84-Lakh Yonis.
The 84 Kosi Ayodhya Parikrama Yaatra by Sants (Saints) is a simple Pada Yaatra (walk on foot) as per the traditional Parikrama route and NOT an agitation or any type of political activity as is being projected by the state Govt and some media.
The Parikrama Yaatra that will start from August 25, 2013 will end on Sept 13, 2013 and daily only 150 to 200 Sadhu-Sants will walk at Parikrama Yaatra points.
There is absolutely no reason for the state govt to panic this way because it is a simple peaceful religious Parikrama Yaatra by limited number of Sadhu-Saints. “Dr Togadia further appealed all at Ayodhya, surrounding districts and in Bharat to treat this 84 Kosi Ayodhya Parikrama Yaatra by Sadhu – Sants as purely a religious pilgrimage and not as an agitation. He also appealed all to maintain peace and calm while following the religious Parikrama Yaatra democratically. He further said, “We, therefore, appeal the Uttar Pradesh Govt to respect the religious sentiments of Sadhu – Sants and allow them to carry on the religious parikrama yaatra as scheduled rather than the Govt using high handed tactics like arresting Sadhu-Sants and VHP people. The state should instead respect Hindu religious sentiments and help Sadhu- Sants with water, clean route and medicines as by walking the feet may get hurt.”
Massive security foils VHP yatra in UP, hundreds arrested
While hundreds of VHP activists and seers were arrested from different parts of the state for trying to carry out the ” 84-kosi parikrama yatra“, VHP’s top leaders were detained in Lucknow and Ayodhya.
Home department officials told IANS the situation was peaceful across the state.
Over 700 people were detained for breaching prohibitory orders.
The police took VHP leader Ashok Singhal to an undisclosed location when he refused to return to New Delhi after being detained at Lucknow’s Amausi airport.
Meanwhile, Pravin Togadia of the VHP, seer Mahant Nritya Gopal Das and politician Ram Vilas Vedanti were arrested in Ayodhya when they tried to go ahead with the yatra.
Togadia, after his arrest, told reporters that the Akhilesh Yadav government had unfairly clamped down on saints and added that as a mark of protest, VHP would stage sit-ins across the country on Monday.
Das accused the state government of “daman” (oppression).
The August 25-September 13 yatra seeks to construct a Ram temple at the site of the razed Babri mosque in Ayodhya.
VHP’s Ayodhya yatra cannot be be stopped, declares a defiant Ashok Singhal even under house arrest
File photo of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal.
Notwithstanding the massive crackdown by state administration, the right wing Hindu organisation VHP’s leader Ashok Singhal on Sunday advised the Uttar Pradesh government to review the decision to ban the ‘Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama’ saying it could not be stopped as saints from across the country would be reaching Ayodhya soon.
The Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama is a travel campaign launched by Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a right wing Hindu organisation based on the ideology of Hindutva.
“The yatra cannot be stopped now… Saints from over 700 districts of the country will continue to reach Ayodhya to take part in the yatra… The state government should reconsider its decision and lift the ban”, Singhal told PTI after being arrested from the airport in Lucknow.
There are 40 halts of the yatra that would continue till September 13 and as per the programme, saints from all states of the country would continue to come, he said.
“What the government can do is to arrest them. It’s astonishing that over 100 saints, including Mahant Nrityagopal Das, have been arrested. It is a peaceful programme and no more that a dozen policemen are needed for it,” he said.
“We had met Mulayam Singh Yadav and apprised him about the programme that everyday 100-150 saints will take part in the yatra that will be peaceful. He did not deny then… It is a simple programme, but why so much force was deployed is not known,” Singhal, who is kept at a guest house in Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary said.
VHP inaugurates ‘chaurasi kos yatra’; 1696 arrested by UP govt across state so far
Policemen try to stop the marching activists of the Hindu right-winged Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Ayodhya. UP police detained more than 500 VHP activists as they tried to take out the Chaurasi Kos Yatra, which aims at expediting the movement for construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. (AP Photo)
He was taken into preventive custody after he tried to start prayers at the banks of River Saryu. VHP leader Ashok Singhal was also detained at the Lucknow airport.
Singhal, who arrived from New Delhi with Swamy Ram Bhadracharya, was arrested when he insisted on visiting Ayodhya, officials said in Lucknow.
Soon after his arrest from Golaghat area in Ayodhya, Togadia said demonstrations would be staged all over the country tomorrow against the ban by the UP government on the ‘Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama Yatra’.
“This is not a political yatra but a religious one and ban or oppression resorted to by the government would not be tolerated at any cost,” he told reporters.
“This movement would reach each and every village of the country and tomorrow protest dharnas would be staged at district headquarters all over the country,” he said.
Earlier, setting the stage for a confrontation with the UP government, Nritya Gopal Das of Ram Janmbhoomi symbolically inaugurated the yatra by walking ten steps outside his temple before he was detained.
“We have inaugurated the yatra. But this yatra should not be politicised. It is carried out all 12 months (not time bound),” Gopaldas said.
Singhal, who was not allowed to come out from the airport, asked, “Why am I being arrested, what crime have I done…They should tell me. There is Mughal rule in Uttar Pradesh, where saints and seers are being stopped from worship”.
Asked if he would to back to Delhi, Singhal, who refused to leave the airport, shot back, “Why should I go back…I have come here to go to Ayodhya.”
A number of VHP and BJP workers staged protests outside the airport raising slogans against the state government.
BJP condemned the arrest of Ashok Singhal and other religious leaders and said Samajwadi Party will face the wrath of people for its actions.
“BJP strongly condemns the action of Uttar Pradesh government in arresting Shri Ashok Singhalji, in detaining the sadhus and sants from taking out the yatra. India is a free country. People have got every right to move around, to take out yatra. You can regulate the yatra. How can you stop it? It is all being done keeping in mind only vote-bank politics,” senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters in Hyderabad.
Earlier, the police arrested Ram Vilas Vedanti, a member of the party’s marg darshak mandal and a former BJP MP, and Rudauli MLA Ram Chandra Vidhayak.
Vedanti was arrested from the banks of river Saryu today.
READ: Ayodhya, a victim of politics
Heavy security has been deployed at the airport and other entry points in the city. Lucknow SSP J Ravindra Goud said the VHP leaders would be detained at the airport and sent back by the next flight. Goud said 17 people who had come from Maharashatra have been arrested at Charbagh railway station.
Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas chief Nritya Gopal Das was also detained at Mani Ramdas Choani in Ayodhya. The ADM (City) AK Chaurasia termed the detention as “symbolic”. Refuting any rift with the VHP, Gopal Das said he would be going to Mathura now for Krishna Janmashtami pujan.
The UP government, meanwhile, did not any chances today. The security forces have fanned out in all 75 districts of the state.
Barriers have been put up on the proposed route of the foot march from Saryu till Makhoda in Basti, which is supposed to be the first halt of the parikrama. Ayodhya and Faizabad are out of bounds for the VHP workers with their boundaries have been sealed since Saturday evening.
According to the police, 46 persons were arrested in Agra, 136 in Kanpur and Kanpur Dehat, 19 from Fatehpur, 43 from Allahabad, 15 from Varanasi, 17 from Jhansi and 21 from Orai. There were reports of arrests from other places also.
Security men maintaining vigil on a locality in Ayodhya in view on the eve Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama. (Ashok Dutta/Hindustan Times)
“A statewide alert has been sounded and district officials have been told to take VHP volunteers who defy the ban into custody,” a home department officer said.
In Lucknow, CM Akhilesh Yadav said, “UP doesn’t need such processions. For the last year-and-a-half, the Samajwadi Party has steered the state on the path of progress. But these parties are trying to take the state on some other (communal strife) path.”
A VHP spokesperson Prakash Sharma had strongly condemned the ban yesterday, “Intoxicated by power, the UP government is out to trample the Hindu society.”
Terming the ban as an infringement of religious rights, he said that an atmosphere of tension and fear was being built up in the state by heavily building up security around Ayodhya in the name of banning the yatra.
He also reiterated the party’s commitment to go ahead with the proposed yatra.
(with PTI inputs)
Activists, including Pravin Togadia, of the Hindu right-winged Vishwa Hindu Parishad scuffle with policemen before getting detained in Ayodhya at the Lucknow Airport. (AP Photo)
Highlight of Sunday’s developments
* Total 1696 arrest so far across the state. Those arrested were sadhu, sant, mahatamas and VHP volunteers.
* Lucknow police, instead being packing off Ashok Singhal to Delhi on an afternoon flight has sent him to the forest guest house in Nawabganj Bird Sanctury 20 km away from the Lucknow airport. He would stay under detention at the guest house till police decides next plan of action for him.
* Inspector General (law & order), UP RK Vishwakarma in Lucknow said that preventive arrests were going on across the state.
* 150 VHP volunters were arrested at Mugalsari railway station, nearly 80 at Agra station and nearly 80 at Jhansi railway station informed GRP officers. GRP arrested them from the stations and some from trains.
* VHP workers question arrest of Singhal, start demonstration at Lucknow airport, raise pro-Hindutva and anti-Mulayam slogans.
* Tension at Lucknow airport between VHP activists and police. Tiff and verbal exchanges on. Police pushing VHP workers back.
* Ashok Singhal detained at Lucknow airport. Would be sent back to Delhi by 1.30 pm flight.
* Praveen Togadia arrested in Ayodhya
* Ram Janmabhumi Nyas chief Nritya Gopal Das detained at Mani Ramdas Chaoni in Ayodhya just now.
* Barriers put up on the chaurasi kos foot march route leading from Saryu to Makhoda in basti where the saffron brigade had scheduled first halt of its parikrama.
* Ram Chandra Vidhayak, MLA from Rudauli arrested as well.
* Ram Vilas Vedanti former BJP MP and member of VHP’s marg darshak mandal arrested from the banks of Saryu