Ayodhya yatra cannot be stopped now, says VHP leader Ashok Singhal
Lucknow: Notwithstanding the massive crackdown by UP administration, VHP leader Ashok Singhal on Sunday advised the state government to review the decision to ban 84-kosi yatra saying it could not be stopped as saints from across the country would be reaching Ayodhya soon.
"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 here.
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.
Taking a dig at UP minister Azam Khan, Singhal said he might be "happy" over the developments but it would have repercussions.
"Azam might be happy that saints have been stopped..But it will have repercussions. Against the ban, VHP will be holding nation-wide protest tomorrow in which memorandums will be sent to President through respective District Magistrates," he said.
"The political parties are talking of politics in the yatra but why not about Lord Ram, who is living in a tent...," the VHP leader added.
The intention of government appeared to be of humiliating saints by arresting them, Singhal said adding that he wanted to ask why the simple "padyatra" was not allowed.
"They are saying that it`s (yatra) political but I want to tell them that its a religious programme. Government should have given security assurance for the programme, but it created necessary hype over it..," he said.
The VHP leader was arrested at Chowdhury Charan Singh airport as soon as he arrived here to participate in the Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama Yatra at Ayodhya.
Singhal, who arrived here from New Delhi with Swami Ram Bhadracharya was immediately arrested when he insisted to visit Ayodhya.
"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 to worship", he said.
Over 50 VHP and BJP activists were taken into custody after they staged a protest at the airport against Singhal`s arrest.
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