NATIONAL

Police put on alert

GANDHINAGAR NOV. 13. The police in Gujarat have been alerted following the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's decision to go ahead with its "yatra,'' ignoring the ban imposed by the Election Commission (EC) on such religious yatras.

Senior Home Department officials and top police officers held a meeting here after the EC announced its ban order in Delhi and the VHP international general secretary, Pravin Togadiya, said the Parishad would go ahead with the yatra.

The VHP plans to take out the yatra from Godhra, the scene of the train carnage, on February 27. Covering various parts of the State, it would conclude at Akshardham, the scene of the September 24 terrorist attack. The VHP plans to carry a replica of the gutted coach of the Sabarmati Express as part of the yatra.

While the State VHP general secretary, Dillip Trivedi, described the EC's ban order as "violation of the constitutional rights of the Hindus and the Hindu organisations,'' Dr. Togadiya attacked the Chief Election Commissioner, J.M. Lyngdoh, saying he is an "agent of the Congress.''

Dr. Togadiya, who is scheduled to lead the yatra from Godhra, said Mr. Lyngdoh was carrying out the "Sonia Gandhi agenda'' and suggested that like his predecessor, T.N. Seshan, Mr. Lyngdoh should also resign from the Election Commission and contest the elections on the Congress ticket. He said religious processions were being taken out in the country from the days of Adiguru Sankaracharya, and the EC had no authority to curb the religious rights of the Hindus.

The State BJP president, Rajendrasinh Rana, declined to comment on the ban order.

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