Ayodhya: A cat-and-mouse game was on Sunday played out in the holy city as VHP leaders sneaked out from hideouts to start their yatra defying a ban and tried to dodge the security personnel who were in hot pursuit.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders were hiding at various locations in Ayodhya to take part in their `84-Kosi Parikrama` after a government clampdown in which hundreds of saffron activists were arrested.
The security personnel at first arrested VHP leader Ram Vilas Vedanti who was trying to reach the banks of river Saryu by hiding his face.
Vedanti had covered himself in a blanket and was wearing a white dress instead of the usual saffron robes but was recognised by the personnel.
President of Ram Janam Bhumi Nyas Trust Mahant Nritya Gopal Das was apprehended as he tried to come out of his temple and confined to its premises.
"Due to his old age we are not sending him to jail. He cooperated with us so he is detained in his own place and not allowed to move anywhere," said a police officer.
At round 10 AM, VHP leader Praveen Togadia, who was hiding in Kale Ram temple on the river side, came out at the banks of river Saryu with a dozen of his supporters but was arrested by a police team led by Faizabad district magistrate Vipin Kumar Dwivedi and SSP KB Singh arrested him.
Some of Togadio`s supporters assaulted the officers and Faizabad DM Dwivedi injured in the melee.
The Faizabad DM and SSP chased BJP leader and former MLA of Ayodhya Lallu Singh for over two kilometres on the roads of Ayodhya and nabbed him while he going to banks of river Saryu.
Police also arrested BJP MLA from Rudauli of Faizabad Ram Chandar Yadav.
There was virtually no local support for the yatra even from the sadhus and the Mahants, officials claimed.
Faizabad district magistrate Vipin Kumar Dwivedi said they have arrested 625 VHP activists who were trying to break the law and order.
He said that among the arrested, he has recommended shifting of Lallu Singh, Togadia and Vedanti from Faizabad jail to Eta jail as they may create problems for law and order and communal harmony if they remain here.