Ayodhya: twenty years after
BS tells us that the Sangh Parivar has returned to an idea which was new in 1992:
The Uttar Pradesh government today stuck to its decision to ban VHP’s proposed yatra from Ayodhya from Sunday while the saffron oufit warned of dire consequences if it was stopped, putting the two sides on a collision course.
As the war of words involving the SP, BSP and the Congress over the yatra from Sunday escalated, heavy police force is being deployed in Faizabad-Ayodhya district.
The Akhilesh Yadav government would not allow any activity that could vitiate communal atmosphere by starting a new tradition, he said, adding that his party would not allow BJP to make a “Gujarat in UP”.
The VHP on its part said the 84th ‘kosi parikrama yatra’ from Ayodhya would take place as per schedule from August 24 to Septmber 13 and the UP government would have to face dire consequences if it tried to obstruct it.
“If anybody tries to obstruct it, they will face dire consequences. If the UP government tries to stop the yatra, then it will have to suffer for it,” VHP leader Venkatesh Abdeo said in Mumbai.
New Indian Express adds:
The VHP has mobilised contingents of saints and followers from across the country. With support from the BJP and RSS for the march, the VHP leaders are confident of overcoming any confrontation with the state government on this issue.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad was initially apprehensive of the march’s success. However, after the RSS joined in and asked the BJP to support the VHP, the VHP leadership had become hopeful of the victory of the march.
IBN Live reported:
UP Principal Secretary (Home), RM Srivastava … earlier said that the permission for the yatra was refused as Supreme Court had ordered that status quo be maintained at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
“The yatra is being organised with the demand for the construction of the temple at the disputed site,” Srivastava had said, quoting from a letter from VHP leader Ashok Singhal to the state government.
After all the bombast about development, this is the action plan that emerges!
August 24, 2013
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad says it will begin its 300-km-long parikrama or religious procession around Ayodhya, banned by the Uttar Pradesh government, at 10 tomorrow morning, with a puja on the ghats of the Saryu river in the town.
But in massive security arrangements, the Akhilesh Yadav administration has cut off all access to the ghats and, starting tomorrow, all of Ayodhya and its twin town Faizabad are out of bounds for the VHP. Already, more than 350 people headed for the yatra have been arrested from various towns in UP.
In Faizabad, the district headquarters 10 km from Ayodhya, 75 people have been arrested in the Samajwadi Government’s effort to enforce its ban on the VHP yatra, which is aimed at mobilising support for a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya where the Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.
The procession is proposed to start from Ayodhya on Sunday and travel through the districts of Basti, Baharaich, Ambedkar Nagar, Gonda, Barabanki and return to Ayodhya on September 13. Most of these districts have a sizeable Muslim population.
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court today dismissed a petition filed by a Lucknow-based lawyer against the UP government’s ban on the VHP yatra.
August 25, 2013
Enforcing the Uttar Pradesh government’s ban on the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) Chaurasi (84) Kos Padyatra, the UP police on Sunday took VHP leader Praveen Togadia into preventive custody in Ayodhya for defying prohibitory orders.
He was taken into preventive custody after he tried to start prayers at the banks of River Saryu. VHP leader Ashok Singhal has also been detained at the Lucknow airport. He will be sent back to Delhi by 1.30 pm, the Lucknow police said.
Earlier, the police today arrested Ram Vilas Vedanti, a member of the party’s marg darshak mandal and a former BJP MP, and Rudauli MLA Ram Chandra Vidhayak.
Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas chief Nritya Gopal Das was also detained at Mani Ramdas Choani in Ayodhya. The ADM (City) AK Chaurasia termed the detention as “symbolic”. Refuting any rift with the VHP, Gopal Das said he would be going to Mathura now for Krishna Janmashtami pujan.
Despite the arrests of about 850 people by the UP government, a defiant VHP commenced its foot march today.
According to the police, 46 persons were arrested in Agra, 136 in Kanpur and Kanpur Dehat, 19 from Fatehpur, 43 from Allahabad, 15 from Varanasi, 17 from Jhansi and 21 from Orai. There were reports of arrests from other places also.
A VHP spokesperson Prakash Sharma had strongly condemned the ban yesterday, “Intoxicated by power, the UP government is out to trample the Hindu society.”
The last statement ignores the fact that the Allahabad High Court upheld the ban. Clearly elections are coming.
The Hindu adds:
Mahant Gyandas, head of the committee that organizes the “parikrama” each year, attacked the VHP for going against tradition and playing politics. “The yatra has always been held from Chaitra Purnima to Baisakh Navami, according to rituals. I have been participating since I was 10. It has already been performed by the Sadhus in the correct time and the original parikrama is done.”
Flayed for terming the yatra as a parikrama despite it already being held, VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma clarified that it was not a parikrama but a padhyatra and that seers had chosen to term it as parikrama as the routes were same. “It is a jan jagran padhyatra (march), where only 200-250 seers would participate. No VHP activists or politicians have been invited,” he said, adding that no politician would be allowed to address from the dias.
However, Mahant Gyandas hit back at the VHP and said: “Now at the last moment they are claiming that the media misquoted it as parikrama? They themselves sent pamphlets calling it a parikrama. I attended the meeting, which included Ashok Singhal.”he said.
The mahant also questioned the route selected by the VHP for its yatra as it included some “communally volatile” places and Muslim populated areas.
“Its an attempt to polarize votes and disrupt communal harmony,” said Mahant Jugal Kishore Sharan Shastri, the chief priest of Saryu Kunj temple, close to the dispute temple site and also a former VHP secretary.
“The VHP is out to defame Hindus and their interests. But people of Ayodhya have understood their schemes and are not bothered.”
Claiming that in the last 20 years the VHP had lost support in Ayodhya, he said only those with vested interests still participated in its programmes.
August 26, 2013
NDTV reports that the dispute has now shifted to the parliament:
The Uttar Pradesh government’s massive crackdown to prevent a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) yatra in Ayodhya on Sunday, caused fireworks in Delhi on Monday.
About 2,000 VHP activists protested at Jantar Mantar and the police used water cannons when some of them tried to break barricades to go towards Parliament, where the BJP clashed with the Samajwadi Party which rules UP. The BJP and the VHP are affiliated.
Samjawadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose son is the chief minister of UP, justified the arrest of top VHP leaders. He accused the right-wing outfit of going against the Constitution and Supreme Court orders by attempting to revive the demand for a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, where the Babri Masjid was brought down in 1992.
“Stop playing vote-bank politics,” Mr Yadav said, to much uproar from the BJP benches, which only got louder when Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal (United) asked, “Is the VHP the contractor for Hindus?” The Lok Sabha had to be adjourned in the din that ensued.