42 VHP activists held ahead of banned Sankalp Sabha

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Lucknow, Oct 17: Sensing trouble during the 'Sankalp Sabha' of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Oct 18 at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, police searched many locations and detained 42 persons, an official said Thursday.

The Akhilesh Yadav government in the state has banned the event citing fears of trouble and communal flare up, but the VHP and Bajrang Dal have said that they will go ahead with the event, as it was their "constitutional and democratic right".

Police searched many places, including hotels, VHP offices and dharmshaala's (guest houses) in search of VHP activists and supporters. It rounded up around four dozen people. The police will seal the district boundaries of Faizabad district in the state Thursday noon, as the local intelligence unit (LIU) reports suggest chances of trouble during the Oct 18 event.

UP govt has banned the event citing fears of trouble and communal flare up.

Intelligence reports have suggested that heavy deployment of security and para-military forces to prevent the Sankalp Diwas were not enough, as hundreds of VHP workers and sympathizers had already camped in various places in the temple city of Ayodhya.

"We have reports that the gathering could be much larger than what we are expecting. We are hence leaving nothing to chance" a senior official told IANS. District Magistrate Faizabad, Vipin Dwivedi said all precautions were being taken to ensure normal life was not hit.

The Sankalp Sabha has been called to press to demand construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya. The saints, VHP and affiliates had held a '84-kosi' and a 'Panch Kosi' yatra August-September for the same purpose.

The two events were banned by the Samajwadi Party (SP) government in the state and many senior VHP leaders including Ashok Singhal and Praveen Togadia were arrested.

IANS

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