A massive security network is in place in and around Ayodhya to deter the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) from undertaking chaurasi kos yatra on August 25. Security personnel have fanned out to the neighbouring districts and a tight vigil is being kept on trains coming to Ayodhya and Faizabad. Bus stations are also under the scanner of security agencies.

The police face an uphill task to identify VHP and Bajrang Dal activists from common passengers, knowing that in October-November 1990 hundreds of kar sevaks infiltrated into Ayodhya and adjoining villages by using trains and buses as the common mode of travel despite tight security.

An official spokesman said the Uttar Pradesh government is in touch with the Railways and roadways authorities.

While the borders of Ayodhya and Faizabad district are likely to be sealed on Saturday, 10 companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and 14 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) have been deployed in Faizabad, Barabanki, Bahraich, Ambedkar Nagar, Basti and Gonda districts. The VHP’s proposed yatra for mobilising support for the construction of a Ram temple will pass through these six districts from August 25 to September 13.

IG (Law and Order ) Raj Kumar Vishwakarma told reporters on Thursday that in addition to the RAF and PAC deployment, two SPs, 16 additional SPs, 32 DSPs, 80 inspectors, 240 sub-inspectors and 600 constables have been drafted for security in Ayodhya and neighbouring areas. People would not be allowed to enter Ayodhya on August 25.

Reports said many sants associated with the VHP have gone underground, fearing arrest.

Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Nirmal Khatri has hit out against the VHP. Mr. Khatri, MP from Faizabad, said the chaurasi kos parikrama is traditionally held in the month of Baisakh, but by deciding to take out a yatra on August 25, it is clear that it was associated with construction of a Ram temple.

SP spokesman and U.P. Food and Civil Supplies Minister Rajendra Chaudhary also lashed out against the VHP, the BJP and the RSS.

He said the VHP-BJP-RSS combine was trying to recreate the scenario witnessed in 1992, which culminated in the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The VHP’s motive was purely political, he said, adding that the ban on the yatra would be strictly enforced.