Zee Media Bureau
Lucknow: Setting the stage for a showdown over Vishwa Hindu Parishad`s (VHP) proposed `chaurasi kos parikrama yatra`, the Sawajwadi Party (SP) government in Uttar Pradesh deployed heavy security outside the residence of Hindu outfit`s chief Ashok Singhal`s residence on Friday.
Some reports also claimed that the VHP leader has been put under house arrest.
Meanwhile, the security forces today conducted a flag march in Ayodhya in view of VHP`s 84-kosi yatra. The Faizabad district administration has also issued arrest warrants against 70 top VHP leaders.
The national, state and local level leaders of the VHP against whom arrest warrants have been issued, include its chief Ashok Singhal, Ram Vilas Vedanti and Pravin Togadia.
Some senior leaders of the VHP who have already arrived in Ayodhya have been arrested, while entry of others has been banned in the temple town.
VHP chief Singhal had on Thursday claimed that his organisation would go ahead with the yatra and warned that nobody can stop it.
Earlier this morning, the BJP chief, Rajnath Singh, also urged the state government to reconsider its ban on the VHP`s proposed yatra.
Singh also terming the chaurasi kos parikrama yatra as a ‘religious right’ of the Hindus.
The BJP president was also quoted as questioning the government`s stand on the issue by saying how sadhus could pose any danger to the law and order in the state.
"The same security that the government has used to ensure the ban could have been used to ensure the pilgrimage went off smoothly," he was quoted as saying.
The state government has deployed heavy police force in sensitive Faizabad and Ayodhya districts.
"Besides PAC and RAF, two Superintendent of Police, 16 Additional SPs, 32 Deputy SPs, 80 inspectors, 240 sub- inspectors have been deployed in Faizabad district to maintain law and order in wake of the yatra," said IG (Law and Order) RK Vishwakarma.
The chaurasi kos parikrama yatra route includes six districts - Faizabad, Basti, Barabanki, Gonda, Bahraich and Ambedkar Nagar.
VHP wants to conduct the yatra between Aug 25 to Sept 13 to press for the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya.
However, the state government refused permission for the yatra on August 19, saying the Supreme Court had ordered status quo at the disputed site.