Security tightened as UP braces for yet another SP-VHP face-off

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Ayodhya, Oct 18: Uttar Pradesh geared up for another face-off as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) decided to overlook the state government's order banning its Sankalp Yatra rally scheduled on Friday.

Security was beefed in the temple town ahead of the rally with 2,000 jawans of the Rapid Action Force, Provincial Armed Constabulary and the local police force deployed in and around it. Multi-level barriers were also put up at various places to prevent the VHP supporters from attending the rally.

Nearly 350 people from the saffron camps were arrested while 42 others were placed under house arrest. Many others were charged under sections of the Indian Penal Code.

The VHP called the rally to press for parliamentary bill on Ram temple

The state government had also put a ban on short messaging services (SMS). The officials warned members of the VHP and its affiliates not to try and move to Ayodhya.

Director general of police (DGP) Devraj Nagar, principal secretary (Home) Anil Kumar Gupta were camping in Ayodhya to ensure foolproof security.

Traffic between Lucknow-Gorakhpur was also diverted through Barabanki, Gonda-Basti and Sultanpur, officials said.

Inspector General (IG) Law and Order, RK Vishwakarma said while Ram Vilas Vedanti had gone underground, there was no information on senior VHP leader Ashok Singhal.

Officials, however, fear the ageing leader could turn up under guise at Ayodhya and hence, entry points to Faizabad were being monitored and raids were being conducted at possible hide-outs of VHP leaders.

The VHP called the religious rally to strengthen its demand for a parliamentary legislation on building a Ram temple at the controversial site of the Babri Masjid, which was demolished on December 6, 1992.

The ruling Samajwadi Party decided to strictly deal with the rally supporters, in the wake of the deadly riots in Muzaffarnagar and other areas of the state which killed 48 and rendered several homeless.

The latest face-off is the second in as many months. In August, the SP government cracked down on the VHP and also got its top leaders like Pravin Togadia and Ashok Singhal arrested, along with 1,700 people after the saffron outfit decided to hold a '84 Kosi Yatra' across six districts of the state.

OneIndia News

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