NATIONAL

Do not stop `Ram bhakts', warns Togadia

NEW DELHI OCT. 13. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader, Pravin Togadia, today warned that the "country will be plunged into communal riots" if `Ram bhakts' were stopped from going to Ayodhya for a `darshan' of Ram Lalla.

He criticised the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, for what he called "stopping and diverting" trains to Faizabad [near Ayodhya], and the posting of additional security forces in the temple town. He said that 11 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force had been moved from Jammu and Kashmir to Ayodhya as the Government perhaps thought that "Ram bhakts are more dangerous than terrorists." In what seemed to be yet another reference to Mr. Vajpayee, he said that "some anti-Hindu people are wearing a secular `mukhota' (mask)." He said the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav, was cancelling buses to Ayodhya. "More than 10,000 VHP volunteers had been arrested so far... we are being treated as if we are in Pakistan," he said.

Later, asked why he had held out the threat of communal riots when it was Mr. Vajpayee and Mr. Yadav he was holding responsible for the hurdles in the way of the VHP programme, Mr. Togadia said, "jehadi forces felt encouraged" by the anti-Hindu stance of the Centre and the State Government.

The VHP had planned a peaceful `darshan' of Ram Lalla by `Ram bhakts' from one lakh villages in the country. They had been stopped, dragged out of trains, illegally detained and kept without food and water. "Our human rights have been trampled upon as also the constitutional, fundamental and religious rights of Hindus... is this the rule of Aurangzeb that people cannot go to Ayodhya to have a `darshan' of the Ram deity," he asked.

Trains could be stopped or diverted only on the orders of the Centre, not the State Government. The Centre alone could send additional companies of security forces. And for this he held the Prime Minister responsible as the head of Government. "Atalji must clarify whether he is with the `Ram bhakts' or with Mulayam."

Referring to the Prime Minister's reported comment that Mr. Yadav should trust the VHP, Mr. Togadia said he was "ashamed" as Mr. Yadav could not be blamed for stopping trains.

Mr. Togadia did not mention the name of the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, except when he said that if even a single shot was fired by the CRPF and other security forces he would hold "Atal, Advani and Mulayam responsible."

When it was pointed out that Mr. Vajpayee had been abroad till yesterday, he insisted that as head of Government he alone was responsible.

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