VHP Holds Sankalp Sabha Despite Ban
p VHP general secretary Champat Rai along with large number of VHP leaders and saints arrested in Ayodhya
p Mahant Nritya Gopaldas, Mahant Suresh Das, Shri Brijmohan Das, Shri Abhishek Mishra and Shri Manmohan Das put under house arrest in Ayodhya
p Sankalp Sabha at 7 places in Ayodhya Hanuman Garhi, Karsevakpuram, Digambar Akhada, Maniram Chhavani, Bada Bhaktmal
p More than 1,000 Sankalp Sabhas in Delhi
Dr Shakti Kumar Pandey in Ayodhya, Pramod Kumar in Delhi
Large number of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) office-bearers, workers and saints were arrested in Ayodhya and other parts of Uttar Pradesh in the wake of Sankalp Sabha programme on October 18. But despite the ban, deployment of heavy police force and tight security by the State government, the saints and the VHP leaders held the Sankalp Sabha.
In Ayodhya itself, over 1,500 activists were arrested including the VHP general secretary Shri Champat Rai, and two senior leaders Shri Rajendra Pankaj and Shri Ashok Tiwari. In Ayodhya, at about 7 places the Sankalp Sabhas were held including at Hanuman Garhi, Karsevakpuram, Digambar Akhada, Maniram Chhavani, Bada Bhaktmal etc, informed Shri Prakash Sharma, VHP spokesperson over telephone. Shankaracharya Narendrananda Saraswati was arrested, while Mahant Yogi Aditya Nath was arrested in Gonda.
The senior saints from across the country are meeting in Delhi from October 19 to 20 to decide the future course of action in this regard.
The Uttar Pradesh government had put a ban on Short Messaging Services (SMS) also in Ayodhya to clamp down on the VHP Sankalp Sabha. More than 1,200 people across the State have been placed under preventive detention. At least 42 people, including senior saints associated with the Ramjanmabhoomi movement like Mahant Shri Nritya Gopaldas, Mahant Suresh Das, Shri Brijmohan Das, Shri Abhishek Mishra and Shri Manmohan Das were placed under house arrest in Ayodhya. At least 366 people were arrested in the State capital Lucknow. This included the State convener of the Bajrang Dal, Surendra Mishra and spokesman Sharad Sharma.
Traffic between Lucknow-Gorakhpur was diverted through Barabanki, Gonda-Basti and Sultanpur. While Dr Ram Vilas Vedanti had gone underground, there was no information about the senior VHP leader Ashok Singhal. The DGP Devraj Nagar said the contents of the Sankalp Patra preceding the Sankalp Sabha were “very inflammatory and could result in communal flare up”. Those arrested included former BJP legislator Shri Lalu Singh.
As many as 2,000 jawans of the Rapid Action Force and the Provincial Armed Constabulary as well as the local police have been deployed in the temple town. To prevent the VHP activists from attending the rally, three-tier barriers have been put up on a bridge on river Saryu, in Faizabad district and at the disputed Ramjanmabhoomi-disputed structure site in Ayodhya.
The Sankalp Sabha was held by the saints and the VHP leaders to press for a parliamentary legislation on building a Ram temple at the site which has been declared by Allahabad Court also as the birth place of Sri Ram.
Less than two months ago, the State authorities had cracked down on the VHP, arresting its top leaders Dr Pravin Togadia and Shri Ashok Singhal along with around 1,700 people to foil the defiant VHP’s ‘84-Kosi Parikrama Yatra’ covering six districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Meanwhile, there are reports that more forces are being deployed in sensitive areas to ensure peace and order, as per the police.
There are reports of organising Sankalp Sabha across the country. In national capital Delhi, the Sabhas were organised at more than 1,000 places. VHP president Dr Pravin Togadia, VHP patron Shri Ashok Singhal, general secretary Shri Dinesh Chandra addressed meetings in Delhi. Addressing a huge gathering at Karawal Nagar in Delhi Dr Togadia warned the government to keep its promise made to the Supreme Court and handover the entire land to the Hindus for building a temple in Ayodhya. He said the atrocities being perpetuated on the Ram bhaktas will prove costly to all secularists.
In other parts also the Sankalp Sabhas were held. In Bahadurgarh VHP spokesperson Shri Prakash Sharma addressed the Sabha.
Mystery shrouds the letter on Ayodhya Temple
On October 9, a letter was issued from the Home Department of Uttar Pradesh stating that a meeting of the administrative and police officials will be held to discuss the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya on lines with Somnath Temple in Gujarat.
Lot of controversy erupted when the letter was revealed to the media. The government suspended the Home Secretary and removed RM Srivastava from the post of Principal Secretary (Home), as a damage control exercise when the mysterious letter came to light. RM Srivastava, who was posted as Principal Secretary (Home), soon after the Samajwadi Party came to power in March 2012, has been replaced by 1979-batch officer Anil Kumar Gupta, who was posted as member of the Board of Revenue. Srivastava has been appointed as Principal Secretary of Institutional Finance Department.
Srivastava’s transfer is presumed to be a fallout of the controversy, which erupted over the letter issued by the then Secretary (Home) Sarvesh Chandra Mishra on October 8 to senior police and administration officers for a meeting on October 14.
Srivastava was transferred even though he had tried to clarify the situation by explaining that the meeting was meant to discuss the law and order situation over the programmes proposed by the VHP as part of its Sankalp Diwas. “We feel this whole controversy was deliberately created to distract public attention from our Sankalp Sabhas to be held on October 18,” said VHP spokesperson Shri Prakash Sharma while talking to Organiser. —SKP