VHP yatra: Ayodhya turns into fortress; Togadia, Singhal among hundreds held
Ayodhya/Lucknow: Top VHP leaders Pravin Togadia and Ashok Singhal were among around 1,700 people arrested in a massive crackdown by the UP administration to foil the defiant saffron outfit`s controversial yatra on Sunday that was banned over fears of communal flare up.
The planned `Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama Yatra` was to have lasted till September 13 criss-crossing six districts of Uttar Pradesh was, however, symbolically launched by the saffron outfit in Ayodhya.
Togadia was arrested from Ayodhya while Singhal was taken into custody at Lucknow airport, as Ayodhya turned into a fortress wrapped in a hige security blanket.
As a cat-and-mouse game was played out in Ayodhya with VHP leaders sneaking out from hideouts to start their yatra defying a ban and trying to dodge the security personnel in hot pursuit, Togadia, who was hiding in Kale Ram temple on the banks of Saryu river, was arrested as he came out.
"In the state, 1,696 persons including Ashok Singhal and Praveen Togadia, have been arrested in the crackdown," IG, Law and Order, RK Vishwakarma, told reporters in Lucknow.
He said that all those arrested will be in judicial custody for the next 14 days and not be released as of now. Temporary jails have also been set up to house the arrested.
Singhal, who arrived from New Delhi with Swamy Ram Bhadracharya, was arrested when he insisted on visiting Ayodhya, officials said in Lucknow.
Soon after his arrest from Golaghat area in Ayodhya, Togadia said demonstrations would be staged all over the country tomorrow against the ban by the UP government on the `Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama Yatra`.
"This is not a political yatra but a religious one and ban or oppression resorted to by the government would not be tolerated at any cost," he told reporters.
Earlier setting the stage for a confrontation with the UP government, Nritya Gopal Das of Ram Janmbhoomi symbolically inaugurated the yatra by walking ten steps outside his temple before he was detained.
"We have inaugurated the yatra. But this yatra should not be politicised. It is carried out all 12 months (not time bound)," Gopaldas said.
Besides Togadia and Singhal, the administration today arrested over 500 people including former Union minister of State for Home Swami Chinmayanand, Nritya Gopal Das of Ram Janmbhoomi Trust, a former BJP MP Ram Vilas Vedanti and sitting MLA Ram Chandra Yadav.
Singhal, who was not allowed to come out from the airport, asked, "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 from worship". He asked the government to review the ban,
Samajwadi party spokesman and cabinet minister Rajendra Chowdhary claimed that VHP`s yatra was a "flop-show".
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Zee Media's mega survey on Modi govt
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- MP: 14-year-old boy works as bonded labour since 2009
- UP: Man chops off wife's nose, hair for dowry
- Zee Media Exclusive: The plight of yoga expert Tejaswi Sharma
- Woman denied flat in Mumbai for being a Muslim
- 4 Indians in Forbes' 100 most powerful women list
- BBV: What challenges lie ahead of Modi govt?
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads
- DNA analysis of rising water crisis in India!
- DNA: Delhi shop owners express their plight through Zee initiative 'My News'
- Watch: Zee Media mega survey on Modi govt- Part 2
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads- Part II
- Heatwave continues in India, death toll climbs to over 1,400
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced today
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- I was misquoted, says Kiren Rijiju on 'beef' remark
- First look: Salman Khan steals thunder in `Bajrangi Bhaijaan`
- mahresult.nic.in updated with MSBSHSE Maharashtra HSC Class XII Result 2015
- Manmohan Singh defends himself on 2G charge, slams Modi govt for 'carbon copy' schemes
- Check cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in for CBSE Class 10 Result 2015
- Sonia Gandhi 'unconstitutional authority' during UPA: PM Narendra Modi
- Hours after attacking NDA govt, Manmohan Singh meets PM Narendra Modi
- Reservation stir: Five percent job quota to Gujjars unlikely, hints Rajasthan govt
- PMO website revamped, now send e-mail to PM Modi directly
- Death toll climbs to over 1400 as intense heatwave continues in India
- CBSE Class 10 (Class X Board) Result 2015 on cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in at 2 pm