Security intensified in Ayodhya, SMS banned

Over 2,000 Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and workers were arrested to foil their attempts to observe “sankalp divas” (for the construction of a Ram temple) and hold a “sankalp sabha” at Ayodhya on Friday.

Among those arrested were BJP MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath; the former MP, Satyadev Singh; and VHP national general secretary Champat Rai.

Tight security in and around Faizabad and Ayodhya, thwarted the VHP’s attempts to hold a “sankalp sabha” at Karsevakpuram. Vigil was also intensified on the State’s borders with Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.

IG (Law and Order) R.K. Vishwakarma told reporters that since Friday coincided with Sharad Purnima, there was no bar on pilgrims from taking a holy dip in the Sarayu. However, the VHP’s ‘sankalp sabha’ was banned by the Faizabad district administration.

Yogi Adityanath and Mr. Satydev Singh, along with two dozen supporters, were arrested when they tried to move towards Ayodhya after alighting from the New Delhi-Gorakhpur Vaishali Express at the Gonda railway station. They were taken to the Irrigation Inspection Bungalow in Gonda. The police used ‘mild force’ to disperse VHP supporters near the Hanumangarhi Temple in Ayodhya. “Mahant” of Hanumangarhi temple Baba Ramesh Das and State president of the BJP Yuva Morcha Ashutosh, along with about 60 VHP and BJP supporters, were arrested from near the temple and taken to makeshift jails in Ayodhya and Faizabad.

BJP MP from Rudauli in Faizabad district Ram Sevak Yadav and Mr. Rai were arrested along with 200 VHP men at Ramsevakpuram, Mr. Vishwakarma said. Ramsevakpuram, where a “sankalp sabha” was proposed to be held was sealed by the police. As a consequence, the VHP shifted the venue to Karsevakpuram.

Around 2,000 Provincial Armed Constabulary and Rapid Action Force personnel were deployed in Ayodhya and Faizabad.

After the “chaurasi kos yatra,” “sankalp divas” was the second VHP programme for the construction of a Ram temple to be held in the last two months.

However, with September’s communal violence in Muzaffarnagar fresh in memory, the Union Home Ministry had asked the State government to ensure that status quo at the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhumi site was maintained in the light of the Supreme Court directives.