Widespread support to VHP's 'jail bharo' which passes off peacefully

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New Delhi, Aug 21 (UNI) Claiming ''massive success'' in today's 'jail bharo' programme, the VHP said nearly nine lakh people all over the country courted arrest to support those agitating in Jammu for restoration of land to the Sri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) that would facilitate pilgrims during the annual 'Amarnath Yatra'.

Talking to UNI, VHP general secertary Pravin Togadia said court arrest by nearly nine lakh people, including nearly 50,000 in Delhi alone, was historic and indicative of the mood of the people.

''Today's massive turnout has proved that the Amarnath land issue has truely become a national movement. The momentum would be maintained and the sacrifice by the people of Jammu would not go waste with the issue having acquired a pan-Indian character and people from all walks participating.'' While the largest number of arrests were made in Rajasthan, where nearly 1.3 lakh people courted arrest, four other states -- Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh -- accounted for figures above 50,000, said the VHP leader adding that the figures exclude Andhra Pradesh where the 'andolan' would be held tomorrow.

Emphasising that the entire 'andolan' was peaceful, Mr Togadia said, ''Even now, if the government fails to meet the people's demands it should be ready for serious consequences.'' He said this was the third ''big step'' taken in support of those agitating in Jammu over the Amarnath land issue for the last 54 days, after the July 3 'Bharat Bandh' and August 13 'Chakka Jam', and added that the next step would be carried out in consultation with the Sri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti (SASS).

Other major states where arrests were made were Haryana (11,116 people), Punjab (30,982), Karnataka (15,709), Chhattisgarh (10,430) and Gujarat (14,501).

From nowhere was any report of any violence or mishappening reported.

Meanwhile, in Delhi more than 50,000 people courted arrest with VHP activists, backed by the BJP and its affiliates and supporters of various religious and social organisations, gathering at six places -- Hauz Khas, Paharganj, Ashok Vihar, Rajouri Garden, Nand Nagri and Bhola Nath Nagar -- for the 'anodolan'.

They also submitted memoranda to the DCP of their respective areas.

A large number of women and youth in the Capital joined in large numbers in the 'jail bharo' protest which began at 0930 hrs and ended at about 1200 hrs. Various saints and mahants also took part in the 'andolan'.

Shouting nationalist slogans and calling for restoring the 'dignity' of Hindus, the participants sought 'strong steps' against anti-national forces in Kashmir.

No traffic disruption or any untoward incident was reported from anywhere and those arrested at most places were 'released' after about an hour.

Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said everything went on peacefully and no untoward incident was reported from any part of the city.

Addressing supporters at Rajouri Garden, VHP general secretary Pravin Togadia, in the company of BJP's Jagdish Mukhi, O P Babbar, H S Balli and area councillors, said it was painful that the government was pampering those who raise anti-India slogans and burn the national tri-colour in Kashmir and instead persecute those nationalists who stand up for their religious rights.

''The appeasement of forces who raise pro-Pakistan slogans and sway Pakistan flags on Independence day in Kashmir by the government and persecuting those who want the land restored to the SASB for the convenience of Amarnath pilgrims was appalling and reprehensible.'' Stressing that the agitation would continue on a pan-India basis till the government concedes to their demand of restoring the land to the SASB, reverting the Amarnath Yatra management to the Shrine Board and recalling Governor N N Vohra, the VHP leader said, if the government fails to take note of its just demands, a more vigorous and violent agitation would follow.

''And any mishappening arising out of this step, the government would be responsible for it.'' On today's 'jail bharo andolan' in Delhi, Mr Togadia told UNI that on an average nearly 9,000 people, including women, participated at each of the six 'centres' in Delhi.

''The enthusiasm of people made it amply clear that the 'issue' had caught the imagination of the people.'' Delhi BJP president Harshvardhan said the massive support by the people to today's 'jail bharo' call showed that the common people wanted the will and sentiment of Hindus to be respected.

''The struggle is for restoration of the dignity of the nation which was being trampled in Kashmir and by the Union government.'' ''We have joined today's call to express support to the Sri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (SASS) who have been struggling for the past 54 days in Jammu,'' he said adding that several top leaders of the party including Arun Jaitley, V K Malhotra, Vijay Goel and Shahnawaz Hussein participated in today's VHP call and courted arrest.

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