The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ayodhya battle on two fronts

Lucknow, Oct. 12: Mulayam Singh Yadav has switched on his policing and persuasive powers as the VHP gives finishing touches to its strategy for the October 17 Ayodhya march.

With police swooping down on hundreds of VHP supporters and scrambling to seal the possible routes of influx, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister appealed to parishad leaders to change their programme.

He has also requested the Prime Minister and his deputy to help stop the scheduled campaign. Returning from Bangkok, Atal Bihari Vajpayee said: “The VHP is saying that they will do everything in a peaceful manner. Us par vishwas kiya jana chahiye (We should have faith in what they say).” ( )

VHP leader Ashok Singhal, however, lived up to his reputation of spitting fire in the run-up to all mass programmes. “Agar kisine Ram bhakton ko jabaran roka, to dhajjiyan uda di jayegi (Anyone trying to forcibly stop Ram’s devotees would be blown to bits),” he told VHP and Bajrang Dal workers in Kanpur.

A bunch of his outfit’s supporters, headed for Ayodhya from Andhra Pradesh, was arrested in Kanpur and lodged in a school converted into a temporary jail.

Hundreds more from Gujarat, including those from Bajrang Dal, travelling in the Sabarmati Express were detained in the train for five hours by police and arrested in Jhansi. They were later shifted to Bundelkhand College and will be held till Friday.

About 1,037 were detained at Jhansi railway station since last night, adds PTI. Of these, 150 were women and 15 children.

Singhal cancelled his other scheduled programmes in Kanpur and Lucknow and left for Delhi in the afternoon to discuss the VHP’s strategy in the face of massive police mobilisation.

“We are ready, but the final strategy will be decided by VHP leaders at their meeting in Delhi tonight,” the outfit’s organising secretary Sharad Sharma said.

The twin towns of Ayodhya and Faizabad were sealed on the arrival of 100 companies of central forces.

The CRPF, the Rapid Action Force, and the Provincial Armed Constabulary have been deployed in the Ram Janmabhoomi complex and several other areas where prohibitory orders are in force till the month-end.

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